Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still going specific prayer request

Well, since I got reprimanded today for not updating, I better get to it! :-)
I can't believe it's been since June 18th that I've updated last. That's a whole week!
Things are still going well. We met today with Brooke from the probation department at Nicollet County. She met with Cassie first for about an hour and Cass had to answer a whole bunch of questions. Then it was my turn. The appointment started at 3:30 and we got out of there about 5:15! They asked me questions like, how do I feel about everything that Cassie's done, what do I think she's learned from it, how are things going now, what are my concerns, what would I like to see the probation dept and courts do for us, etc.
We had a great talk about everything. Brooke said she sees Cassie as a good kid who is a little messed up right now. She may be doing these things because of the mental illness, to look "cool" and be accepted, for the "rush" that comes with the activities, or a combination of them all. I tend to agree with the combination theory. Brooke said that she can't think of a single thing that she normally suggests to parents that we're not already doing. She also said that we're the most "on the ball" parents she's worked with. Wow! Did that make me feel good! It reminds me of a Scripture verse that God gave me last week:
Isaiah 26: 12-13 ~ Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us and Your name alone do we honor.
It's all Him folks. It's all God. We'd be LOST without Him (pun intended! lol) Every day of peace comes from Jesus. Every moment of joy comes from God. Every single thing we are doing right as parents is because the Holy Spirit is leading us. So while I really needed to hear that compliment from a county official, and it definitely lifted my parent-esteem, I am constantly, forever aware that we are where we are because of God and we give Him all the credit and honor and glory for it!
And while I'm so grateful for the peaceful weeks we're having, I am constantly aware that my daughter is walking in rebellion against God Himself. As long as she refuses to turn her life over to Him, to acknowledge His Sovereignty in her life and admit her need for a Savior, she is walking in rebellion. So my number one prayer is that she would return to faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Please join me in that prayer. As wonderful as these weeks have been, they cannot bring me complete joy until she is walking in faith again. I believe she will return to Him and pray constantly for that day.
I'm back to work in full force. My boss is on "vacation" this week. Actually, she's at RFKC camp, a camp that our church sponsors for abused and neglected children. The concept is that while we can't do anything about their home life, we can bring them to this camp for one week and shower them with the love of Jesus. They get a collective "birthday party" because most of them have never had one. They get to play dress-up and sports and go swimming and just be kids for an entire week. There's one counselor for every two kids and they just get loved on! It's awesome and my boss is one of the counselors. I think it's so cool that many of the counselors give up a week of their vacation time from work to be at the camp.
Anyway, with her gone, I've gotten to work full time all this week, and I'll be doing it again next week while I cover for the woman who works the front desk. It's a lot for this mom who is used to working 20-23 hours/week. The extra money is a blessing, however, so I just thank God that I have a job that I love and I get to work extra these next two weeks. to bed. It's been a LOOOoooooonnnngggg week and my head is ready to hit the pillow!
Love ya'll! Thanks again and still for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All's (well, some's) quiet on the home's been almost a week since I last posted. Sorry about that, but no news is good news, right? Things have been going fairly well. She's taking her medication every day. She's on Strattera...I think I mentioned that. We met with Gretta yesterday (mental health case manager) and she had Dar, Cassie and me fill out a questionaire about Cassie, kind of an assessment to find out what services we may need. And we meet with Brooke from the Probation Department at the county next week. I think Cassie may be a little scared of her, which is good. I think she is one of those people who can be quite nice if you mind your p's and q's, but can be quite a "b" if you cross her. Cassie seems to be afraid to cross her, which is fine by me.

I met with my boss last week on Friday and I started back to my normal schedule on Monday morning. Dar and I came to the conclusion that God has given me my dream job, I love it and they like me, and that I should not give that up. My boss seemed very glad to hear that I was coming back! So we sat Cassie down, listed out the rules on an index card that she carries with her, and told her quite simply, that she needs to follow them. I said every single choice she thinks about making, she needs to check it against the rules and see if it would break a rule or not. If in doubt, call and ask.

The rules are pretty drinking, drugs, or smoking. No hanging out with anyone who is drinking, doing drugs, or smoking. We listed two of her "friends" who she is not to associate with in any way..not in person or on the phone or in text. We also said that before she can go anywhere or be with anyone, she has to have permission from us. If she can't get ahold of us, then she should assume the answer is no. We are doling out consequences for breaking the rules in very small bites. 12, 24, or 48 hours of grounding, for instance, or extra jobs around the house. We also made the rule that if she gives us attitude, we give her one warning. If she continues, she loses her phone for the rest of that day and that night, to be returned to her upon my waking the next day.

Yes, we've had to bear out those consequences a couple of times. For instance, she spent the night at a friends' house this week and the next day they went to the lake to go swimming without asking permission first. She got grounded for 12 hours and was REALLY mad at us because she and the friend had planned to have a fire that night at the friend's house. We stuck to our guns (something we're learning to do, which sounds horrible, being we've been parents for 15 years, but you have no idea how well this girl can argue! We keep telling her she should be a lawyer! lol) She got mad, stormed upstairs, cried crocodile tears, yelled, screamed. But within the hour, she was back to friendly and bubbly.

It's a roller coaster ride, I tell you, keeping up with her mood swings. At least the "mads" seem to be short in duration. We've had a couple of episodes like that, but like I said, we're learning to stick to our guns, and that seems to be working. I guess that's all we can do, is just keep trying new things and stick with the ones that work.

I also got a call today from the North Mankato police liuetenant who's handling our case, and he just had a couple of questions. He told me he'll give me a call in a week or so with an update. That's all I know on that end. I pray that justice is served, that's all. The rest is in God's hands.

Anyway, thank you again for all of your prayers and support. It means the world to us. Please keep my niece and nephew in your prayers as they both had surgery today to remove their tonsils. Sound like there were some fairly major issues developing, so it's a good thing they were removed! Please pray for a quick recovery for them, and for patience for their mom as she cares for these two precious "patients". :-)

Love you all...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today He has given me hope...

Today, He has given me hope. Over, and over, and over again. He is so amazing. He started off my day, actually, last night. He gav me Psalm 37:25-26
I was young, and now I am old
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely
Their children will be blessed.

And also Psalm 44:17-26
"All this has happened to us, though we had not forgotten You.
Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from Your path.
But You've crushed us and covered us over with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god
would not God have discovered it, since He knows the secrets of the heart?
Awake O Lord! Why do You sleep?
Rouse Yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Why do You hide Your face and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love.

And then this morning, Jeremiah 10:2-16
Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the customs of the peoples are worthless... one is like You, O Lord; You are great!
And Your name is mighty in power.
Who should not revere You, O King of the nations?
This is Your due...
...but the Lord is the True God. He is the Living God, the Eternal King...
...God made the earth by His power;
He founded the world by His wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by His understanding...
...The Lord Almighty is His name.

and then this afternoon, a youtube video that I linked to off of someone's Caring Bridge site.

and he says...

There is a cross standing over history
It is the place where the Star Breather became the Sin Bearer
Where the Universe Maker became mankind’s Savior
And it is proof that God doesn’t always change the circumstances
He did not change them for Jesus on that hillside outside Jerusalem
But the cross is also proof that God always has a purpose in the circumstances
And that his purpose and his plan will prevail and will triumph through any circumstances in this world.

Isaiah 40
So why do you say oh Jacob and why do you complain oh Israel
"My way is hidden from the Lord", or "My cause is disregarded by my God"?
There was a moment in the history of Israel when they felt like God had completely lost sight of them.

Yes, I believe that God is big enough to make the world. I even believe that God ordained and made me. And I accept the fact that God gave His Son on a cross.

But what I really need to know right now, what really matters most to me right now is…does God see what I’m going through? Does He see what I’m carrying? Does He know that I can’t take one more step or one more day? Does He care and will He do something? That’s what I need to know.

And Isaiah answers with another question
A question for us, here.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God! The Creator of the ends of the earth! He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He’s huge! He’s the Star Breather! He’s big. But listen to what He loves to do. That God, that Creator of the ends of the earth, that "I do not grow tired or weary" God, that "My understanding’s too great for you" God, that God. Here’s what He does…He gives strength to the weary and He increases the power of the weak.

For even the youths will grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord… another translation… those who wait upon the Lord. The Hebrew word simply means this, when it says "hope" and "wait" it means: those that stand right in the midst of the craziness; right in the midst of the pain; right in the midst of the chaos; right in the valley of the shadow of death. And they don’t gloss over it. They’re dealing with the hardest stuff in life. But standing in the middle of it, they say "You know what, I don’t see what God’s doing. I don’t understand what the plan is. But I’ll tell you one thing, I am not going to give up on God! And I’m going to stand right here in the middle of this moment and I’m going to trust that God is sitting on the throne; that He has a purpose for my life, and a plan for my life. And I believe I’m going to see the goodness of God in the land of the living and I’m not going to stop believing that no matter what."

That’s what the word means, to wait, and to hope on the Lord. And He said, "Here’s the promise: You’re going to wake up to rosy circumstances" No. Oh, He can do that and He does do that. But the promise is greater than that. He said "Those who wait upon the Lord, here’s what I promise: I will renew your strength. When you think you can’t take one more breath. I’ll give you enough to keep going, and enough to keep going on, and to keep going and to keep going on. You keep hoping and I’ll keep causing strength to rise when you hope. And you will feel like you have been swept up on the wings of eagles. And you will run and not get weary. And walk through it all and not faint." He said ‘I will hold you. Even when you let go of me. I’m not going to let go of you."

Louie Giglio

And so, while circumstances have not changed, and I'm still not sure I'm making the right decisions, and I, more desperately than ever, need Him to guide me and hold me because I'm not sure what the future holds, I am going to press ever closer in to God. I cling to my faith that He's got all of this in His mighty hands, and He's got a plan for us, and is allowing this. This battle. Cassie's battle, and our battle. This is training ground for our faith and we just have to continue to trust in Him.

Thank you God for a better attitude today.
Love you all

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I apologize for not getting an update out sooner. The past 30 hours have been frustrating, exhausting, and busy.
Yesterday morning we had to be in Mankato at 6:45 to meet with Dr. Spieker, the psychiatrist. That meant up at 5:30 and out the door by 6:20. Cassie was NOT thrilled with that, to say the least. Unfortunately, having an appointment that early also meant she was very subdued and compliant during the appointment. No typo there, yes I meant unfortunately. Since she was so subdued, I don't feel the psychiatrist got a good "feel" for her personality. Cassie is a very complicated young lady and it's impossible to sum her (or anyone for that matter) up in an hour. I don't feel that Dr. Spieker got a good grasp on the extremities of Cassie's moods, as she doesn't feel that the bipolar diagnosis is correct. She seems to think Cassie may have Conduct Disorder and ADHD instead. ADHD, yes, I can see that. But looking at the list of symptoms of Conduct Disorder, I disagree. Here they are...what do you think?

Aggression to people and animals, including:
* bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
* often initiates physical fights
* has used a weapon that could cause serious physical harm to others (e.g. a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife or gun)
* is physically cruel to people or animals
* steals from a victim while confonting them (e.g. assault)
* forces someone into sexual activity

Destruction of Property, including:
* deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention to cause damage
* deliberately destroys others property

Deceitfulness, lying or stealing, including:
(now this is where is starts to fit a little better, I think)
* has broken into someone else's building, house, or car
* lies to obtain goods, or favors or to avoid obligations
* steals items without confronting a victim (e.g. shoplifting, but without breaking and entering)

Serious violation of rules, including:
* often stays out at night despite parental objections
* runs away from home
* often truant from school

I don't know, the ADHD fits, a milder case of bipolar seems to fit, and the latter half of the symptoms for Conduct Disorder seem to fit. Like I said, Cassie is a complicated girl with layers of issues and challenges. I'm sure it's not just one thing, making it difficult to diagnose.

Dr. Spieker does see signs of depression, and so has put Cassie on Strattera, a non-addictive anti-depressant. She is staying away from the more addictive ones because of Cassie's experimentation with drugs and alcohol.

Then at 2 we had court. Nothing was really decided there. The judge went through all the charges/petitions and Cassie had to admit or deny them (she admitted them all). He said he's being asked to make a pretty major decision based on very little information, so we have another court date on July 8. In the meantime, we'll be meeting with the probation department and the county more to do some assessments and get them up to date with all of our challenges.

In the midst of all of this yesterday, we had Qwest out to our house to connect our wireless internet. We have disconnected our landline, so don't try that number any more. :-) We were told no one had to be home for the connection, but they were wrong and the tech showed up while Cassie and I were in Mankato. Chris went outside to talk to him and inadvertantly locked himself out of the house. I told the tech over the phone that we were going to disconnect our HickoryTech service after we were up and running with Qwest, so he went ahead and assumed I wanted him to cut the line. I did not, and since Qwest had sent us the wrong modem for our service, we ended up with NO service for most of the afternoon.

Dar was working on getting the new modem set up last night around 6:30, and I was at work. Cassie got mad at us for not letting her stay overnight at a friend's house. This is one of the friends who she sneaks out at night to see. She's 17, has a license and a car, and is pregnant. She is not a person we feel is a good influence on Cassie. She's the one who has taken Cassie to Le Sueur several times when Cassie had run away. Cass flipped out on us, refused to calm down or cooperate, and was in general screaming, yelling, arguing, and was out of control. We thought we were going to have to take her into the ER to get her admitted to the mental health unit for 48 hours. She did finally calm down and ended up in tears. She said she loves us and doesn't know why she gets the way she was, that she doesn't try and doesn't want to, but doesn't know how to control it. After we got her calmed down (it was around 8pm by this time) I ended up going back in to work for a few hours.

What a day, what a night. Glad that's over! We did start her on the anti-depressant last night, so we're praying it's the right dose and that it helps.

Today so far she seems to be calmer, more compliant and respectful. We've been to the dentist and Wal-Mart and home again this morning. Now she's upstairs sleeping...again. I got the mail this morning and the assessment from Dr Serdy was in it. That's depressing in and of itself.

The summary part of the 5 page assessment: [anything in these brackets is something I've inserted]

Her clinical scale profile suggests severe adjustment problems including impulse control, concurrent with anger, moodiness, authority conflict, school maladjustment, and family difficulties. Her low frustration tolerance and the need for constant stimulation cause her to behave recklessly or irresponsibly. She is a risk-taker who probably abuses alcohol or other drugs and may tend toward exhibitionism.

She is self-indulgent, hedonistic [definition: devoted to pleaseure], immature, and defiant if her desires are frustrated, she appears to have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and may have rather grandiose plans. She charms and persuades others easily, but she may actually feel quite insecure and inadequate. She excessively denies problems or tends to blame others for them. She may be overactive, agitated, irritable, and moody. She is prone to angry outbursts when she becomes frustrated.

Her content scales indicated assaultive or aggressive acting-out behavior due to her report of considerable problems controlling her anger. She may appear overly interested in violence and aggression. [I don't see the violent/aggressive part at all] She may be sexually promiscuous, flirtatious, and provocative.

School is a problem area with her disliking all aspect of school except for being with her friends. Truancy or suspensions are likely. She reports not liking to read or study. She has difficulty starting projects, tends to give up easily, and allows others to take charge.

She is frankly exploitive in relationships, using her charm and powers of persuasion to con others. She avoids deep emotional attachments. She has numerous misanthropic [definition: believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in the selflessness of others] attitudes. She sees the world as a very hostile place and she believes that others are out to get her. She looks for hidden motives whenever someone does anything nice for her. She believes that it is safer to trust no one because people make friends in order to use them. Because she believes that people inwardly dislike helping each other, she reports being on guard when people seem friendlier than she expects. She feels misunderstood by others and thinks they are very jealous of her. Other validated interpersonal problems include her family as being a significant problem and describes her family in terms of discord, jealousy, fault-finding, anger, serious disagreements, lack of love and understanding, and very limited communication. She looks forward to the day when she can leave home for good, and she does not feel that she can count on her family in times of trouble. Her parents and she often disagree about her friends. She indicates that her parents treat her like a child and frequently punish her without cause. Her family problems probably have a negative effect on her behavior in school. Anger control problems are significant and she reports considerable irritability, annoyance, and impatience with others. Temper tantrums and aggressive behavior may characterize her interactions. She is associating with others who use drugs and alcohol, confirms increasing involvement with alcohol or other drugs, and acknowledges that her use is problematic. She may feel that alcohol or other drugs facilitates social interactions and may therefore also be a coping strategy.

Treatment Plan Recommendations:
Psychiatric evaluation is needed to address - pharmocological treatment. Behavioral therapy, cognitive behavior therapy including self-control skills, mood regulation skills, anger management, addressing her sexual promiscuity is needed. Family therapy with conflict resolution skills and drug and/or alcohol intervention are likely needed. With these treatment options it may be helpful to test her again when she appears more stable to determine if she does have some underlying cognitive deficits.

So, that's that. Hard for a mom to read. I've always had this dream of having such a great family. We try so hard to play together, do fun things together, always telling the kids we love them, hugging them, encouraging them to try new things and do their best. We love Jesus and try so hard to set a godly example for our kids. We've tried to instill godly values in our kids. To love God and follow Jesus, to have solid relationships, to model a strong marriage, to love family and be there for each other no matter what, I want nothing more than to be a great mom whose kids know she loves them and they can count on her love and support no matter where their life takes them. Apparantly I've failed in everything I've tried to do with my family. Oh, my goodness, does that hurt. Like a knife stabbing into my heart. This road is so NOT where I wanted my family to go. And looking forward, the road ahead looks so long, and twisted, and steep, and dangerous, and painful, and hopeless. Apparantly God is teaching us to rely on Him, and I am, and He better not leave us, because I can't do this otherwise.

Please, please, please, keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mountaintop Day :-)

Well, it's Sunday night and all is well on the Mohlenbrock homefront. :-)

The weekend was nice and quiet. Cassie spent Saturday morning with Becky while Dar worked at Tru-Green and I went in and worked at the paper. Then we went out to Dustin's grad party (where I saw a lot of you!). It was nice to see my friends and have time to chill out and relax with people I like. :-)

Today was GREAT! God continues to amaze me with how awesome He is! Dar and I are on the worship team at church, so we were at church at 7:30 this morning warming up and practicing with the team. 2nd service is always my favorite just because the atmosphere is so much livelier than 1st service. We were singing some pretty upbeat songs today and the Holy Spirit was definitely present and flowing through that place! Pastor Greg prayed toward the end of the singing and asked God to speak to His people and almost immediately we had prophecy after prophecy after prophecy...5 total, one right after another! It was so cool! And each Word spoke directly into my heart, pulling me deeper and deeper into His presence!

Then the sermon was all about how God is a Person, has emotions, has likes and dislikes, and is so personal with each and every one of us! Pastor ended the service a bit differently, calling the worship team back up and having us all worship again, keeping in mind the personality of God, and focusing on bringing joy and pleasure to Him. So we did, and we ended up doing about 20 minutes of singing again! Complete with dancing and shouting and just an amazing PRESENCE of the living, almighty, sovereign Creator! It was just so cool, I barely know how to put it into words.

If you've never experience anything like that before with God, I encourage you to ask Him to let you experience it! There's just nothing else like it in the whole world! And if you ask, He'll do it too! He loves to bring blessings to His children when they are seeking Him out. If you think of your own kids (if you have them) if they come up to you and hug you and look at you with those eyes that say you are some kind of hero to them (ok, doesn't happen as often once they get older, but I remember times like that when my kids were little), wouldn't you do just about anything they ask of you, just because they've touched your heart? Well, our Heavenly Father is the same way; when we come to Him without an ulterior motive, and just come to worship and love on Him and we touch His heart, He'll do just about anything for us! So if we come to Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to us in a joyful, exciting, amazing way, He's going to answer with a resounding YES!

Anyway, that's why my day was so completely rockin' and I wish every day could be like this, but if it was then I wouldn't appreciate it. It's because of the low days that are spent in the valley that we appreciate the high days on the mountaintop.

Anyway, I'm home tomorrow, babysitting my teenager, and then bright and early on Tuesday (7am!) we have the appointment with the psychiatrist, and then court at 2pm, so please keep us in your prayers that the entire day goes well.

Love you all!


Friday, June 6, 2008

Busy day!

Wow...lots of big things happened today!

First off, Dr. Gazolla called today and told us that he had talked to Dr. Spieker, who wants to meet with Cassie herself before she prescribes medication. So her office called me today and we have an appointment for Tuesday morning at 7:00!!!! What an answer to prayer!

Then at 3:00 today we went with Jessica from Crime Victim Services to the North Mankato police department and filed a report against John. Lieutenant Carl Bock took her statement. She told the situation once while he took notes, then she told it again while he recorded it. Then she came out and I went back and he asked me some questions to clarify some things. He told me that he had seen the original report and was expecting this. He was sure we'd either file with St Peter or N Mankato at some point. He'll start working on the case next week. Pray that this man gets what he deserves and that the truth comes out!

Then, on a fun note, Cassie and I went and visited Laura Hahn in the hospital and I held her brand new baby girl, Alaina Joy, who weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces and was born yesterday at 11:02am! Very exciting! :-)

I'm off to work now. Praise the Lord for a boss who is willing to let me come in at night and weekends for a week or so to make up some hours and get some work done.

Love you all!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


As we prepare for court, I sat down and wrote down a timeline from last September to now. I found it really interesting and thought I'd share.

Friday/Saturday, 9/14-15 – snuck out (1)
* Was supposed to be staying the night at Becky’s. Felicia’s mom alerted us to the fact that she was not there.
* Didn’t return until late on 9/15.
* Took her in for drug test, tested positive for traces of marijuana.
* She admitted she’d been out drinking with friends,
* She told us she had sex with a guy named Will, who is 17 or 18

Wednesday, 10/10 – skipped school (1st time), seen smoking by teacher

Tuesday, 11/13 – Got into a fight in the school cafeteria with Ashley Yost. Got suspended for a day.

Thursday, 11/29 – Skipped period one (2nd time) with Rhiannon

Thursday, 12/6 – Skipped period one (3rd time) with Rhiannon

Monday, 12/10 – Skipped period one (4th time) with Rhiannon

Tuesday, 12/11 – Skipped period one (5th time) with Rhiannon

Wednesday, 12/19 –
* Skipped periods 7 & 8 (6th time).
* I found out, found her and took her to work with me.
* She took off from there and Karen (sister in law) came and looked for her.
* She found her up by the school and grabbed her.
* She brought her home after taking her to the cities to show her a homeless shelter first.
* We emptied her room of everything, including decorations.
* We left her with 7 pairs of jeans, 7 shirts, undergarments, an alarm clock, a pillow and a blanket.
* We took her makeup, hair stuff, etc.
* We grounded her for 3 months.

Sunday, 3/30 – Announced she doesn’t believe in God

Tuesday, 4/1 – Run away (1st reported)
* Stayed home sick from school
* Takes off at 3:30, left us a note telling us she’d be back at midnight
* Took check from us, wrote it out for $20 to Gina, who cashed it. They used the $ for gas
* Went mudding with Gina and Rick
* "Screw your rules" defiance over phone while missing
* "See if the cops can catch me" attitude when we told her we were reporting her as a runaway
* Police picked her up at 12:30 at Becker’s house. She possessed tobacco at that time
* We emptied her room again. Took her makeup, hair stuff, cute clothes (left her with ugly t-shirts, pants she didn’t like, etc)

Friday, 4/18 – Skipped periods 7 & 8 (7th time) with Jenna Fischer

Saturday, 4/19 – Snuck out (2nd time)
* Gone from midnight to 6am
* Stole the keys to our safe and took her cell phone
* Took our van with Rhiannon – drove it to Kasota to get Gina, then Mankato, then back to St. Peter where she met up with Rick and Will, then Le Center
* Lost the keys to our safe

Sunday, 4/20 – Bought alarm and put it on her door

Monday, 4/21 –
* Skipped after 4th period (8th time) with Jenna
* Ran away (2nd reported)
* Came home on her own at 9pm.
* Gave the police "I know how to manage my own life" attitude.
* Dar took her in to get tested for drugs…came back clean

Tuesday, 4/22 –
* Talked at length with Kelly Jensen, school social worker
* Began seeking county assistance, possible house arrest bracelet to track her.

Wednesday, 4/23 –
* Skipped out of school after 1st period (9th time)- got suspended
* My friend Kristin suggested Cassie may be bipolar, based on her behavior.
* Ran away (3rd reported)
* Went to Le Sueur with Gina and Rhiannon
* Picked up by LS police after spotted by Kristin at mall

Friday, 5/9 – 1st meeting with probation department. Put on diversionary program.

Monday, 5/19 – Ran away (4th reported)
* Found around 11pm on 5/20 by N Mankato police
* Ended up in North Mankato with 33yo John Wesley Adams
* Tested positive for marijuana
* Was obviously "on" something besides pot
* Found out from Riverview Clinic that she’s diagnosed as bipolar (manic-depressive)

Friday, 4/23 – Met with probation department. Taken off diversionary program, will be sent to court

Tuesday, 6/3 – Snuck out (3rd time) (unproven)
* We have strong reason to believe she took off this night and was out and about with Gina from around 1am to around 4:30am

Wednesday, 6/4 – Snuck out (4th time) of Felicia’s house around 12-1a.m. until we picked her up at 2a.m. and brought her home.

Two verses from God to us, through a friend (Renae) and my mom. Thank you both! These really minister to my heart and confirm what God has been telling me. :-)

As soon as I pray, You answer me ; You encourage me by giving me strength. PS 138:3

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:8-11

It's amazing what 24 hours can do

I apologize in advance for the long post...a lot has happened.

Here I sit at home again. It seems every measure we take to move things forward in this situation is met with a very hard, very painful concrete wall. I recently read Danielle Steel's "His Bright Light" which is a book she wrote about her son, who had bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive) and ended his life at age 19. As I typed the second sentence of this update, it very much reminded me of their story. They experienced the same thing. They just kept trying one more thing, taking one more step, and praying that it worked, that it helped, and most of the time, unfortunately, it did not. Reading that book was a Godsend. It has helped me to realize the seriousness of this illness, some of what to expect, and just how hard this road will be to walk. Thank God I have my Savior to lean on, and a husband to stand beside me, and a network of support to uphold us in prayer and encouragement.

So, on to the update.

She adamantly states that she did NOT sneak out Tuesday night. However, from piecing together her text message conversation with Gina and Mandi, and another item of proof we have found (which we can not disclose at this time), there is no other belief we could take. We're not sure if she's having blackouts in her memory, or what. But we are 99% sure that she did indeed sneak out Tuesday night.

Cassie, Gretta and I sat in the office there and were simply at an impasse. Cassie was angry, sullen, uncommunicative, and insisting she did not sneak out and we were completely wrong in accusing her. I was absolutely sure we are correct in this assumption. Gretta was trying to mediate between us. She suggested that we draw a line, step over it, and move on, leaving Tuesday night in the past. I agreed, Dar agreed via phone, and so we did.

We moved forward with our plan to go to the Twins game last night as a date night, Cassie went to Felicia/Kris' with plans to spend the night and stay with them today while Dar and I went to work. The Twins game was awesome! A much needed break of fun for us. We parked by the MOA and took the light rail into downtown Minneapolis. Cheaper than parking downtown and dealing with all the traffic, it was a fun and new experience for us! The seats were awesome other than all the people who walk up and down the steps nonstop instead of planting their butts in their seats and watching the game. The Twins won, which was awesome! We saw Joe Mauer hit a homerun, which was very cool to see. We took the rail back to our car and stopped at Applebee's in Shakopee for a half price appetizer.

Got home about 12:30am and were just getting into bed around 1am when Felicia's mom called to tell us that Cassie had snuck out of her house. We were instantly wide awake, making calls, trying to find her. She did call us back finally and she was out walking. She said she’d gotten hot in the apartment and decided to go out for some air. Hmm…they live over past McDonald’s and she was at Minnesota Square park. That’s a heck of a distance to walk "just to get some air"!!! We picked her up, brought her home, talked for a bit before letting her go to bed and setting her alarm on her door.

Then it was time to decide what to do next. It was 3am, Dar was supposed to get up at 4:30 for work, and me at 6:30 for work. There was no way we would be even halfway alert at our jobs with that little sleep! Plus we needed to decide if we should bring Cassie into the ER and try and get her admitted for a 48 hour watch again, or what to do with her while we worked. Again, the county is encouraging us to try and make it through until court on Tuesday, but how are we supposed to do that when she keeps taking off? It just seems like things are picking up momentum and spinning out of control!

The first thing we did was pray and invite God (again and still) into the situation. We know that we can’t do this without Him and don’t even want to try. We know we need His direction and wisdom and guidance through this situation. We still believe He is in control of everything and nothing that is happening is outside of His ultimate plan and will for all of our lives. He is sovereign, He is holy, and He is good and we know we can trust Him with everything.

I truly feel He told me that He is allowing these relatively minor crises to occur to spur Dar and I on to continue to be assertive, even aggressive, in seeking help for our daughter. We believe that she needs to be put inpatient at a child and adolescent behavior hospital to do further analysis of her mental state. So we called New Ulm hospital (at 3am) to see if we could bring here there, even for a 48 hour watch to get us through until court. They were unwilling to accept her in their mental health unit and suggested we bring her into the local ER. Well, as far as we’re concerned, no member of our family will ever go to the St Peter ER again and we’d already tried that with Mankato. They do not consider her running off in the middle of the night to be a crisis, and so won’t accept her either.

So, frustrated, and without direction, we went to bed. Dar was going to sleep for a few hours and then get up and go into work late. I was going to call my boss and see if Cassie could come with me to work because one of us simply has to be with her every moment.

We slept very fitfully. We kept waking up to weird noises, cats, Cassie, truck driving by, every little thing woke us. Around 6:30am Dar woke up and called our case manager and left a message on her voicemail. At 8 I called and left a voicemail for my boss. At 9:15 I called her as we were still waiting to hear back from Gretta (case manager), who was in a meeting until 10am. Alena told me to stay home, be mom, take care of stuff, and to check my email as she had emailed a possible temporary solution that she and Peggy (the publisher) had come up with for my job. They are willing to let me come in, just for a week or two, at night and on weekends to do my work so that the work gets done. I get hours, but I can still be home with Cassie while Dar works, and then he can be with Cassie while I work at night. Last night we prayed for grace and understanding from our bosses, and He answered that prayer!

At 10:15 Gretta finally called back (case manager). Her suggestion was that we call and make an appointment for Cassie to see her regular doctor and hopefully he would be willing to prescribe a mood stabilizer or something to get us through until court. So I called immediately and got an appointment for 11:30 today. We went in and saw Dr Gazzola and he is going to try (I emphasize the word try) and get information from Dr. Serdy as well as suggestions from the psychiatrist that Cassie is scheduled to see in August. He’s supposed to call us either today or tomorrow with what he finds out.

He did say that it would be completely appropriate for us to pursue the inpatient analysis from a behavioral unit for Cassie and that we should discuss that with our case manager. (Gretta will say, again, that we need to try and make it until court…grrr). He said that if she runs again, instead of bringing her home, to bring her to the ER and that should qualify as a crisis to get her admitted at least for the time being.

So now we are at home, waiting for a phone call, babysitting our daughter. One blessing from today came from Cassie. We had to step out for a bit while Dr. Gazzola talked with her. She told us after that he said to her that she has really good parents who love her a lot to be handling all of this so well (his words, not ours!). She told him he was right, that we will do whatever necessary to get her help. What a blessing that others see our love and concern for our daughter and that she sees it as well! That helps us know we are on the right track and being good parents. We’re simply trying our best because we love our kids.

Some of you have heard of baby Gracie, who I have been praying for on Caring Bridge Her mom wrote a journal update today that really spoke to my heart. I quote it here, changing their names to ours because it completely fits where we are at:

"It is true that while [Dar] and I have the wonderful honor and privilege to be [Cassie’s] mom and dad...this is a reminder that she is God's first, and every child we have belongs to Him. I'm learning that being a mother doesn't always mean cuddles and holding and being able to help your child feel better...sometimes it is releasing the child from your grasp and loving them from the distance...while giving them to God. Both are important...and that's the mommy I need to be right now. Pray for my strength in doing so. Pray also for daddy, too."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

She has no idea...

So far she has no idea that we know. Knowledge is power, so they say.

We have her cell phone in lockdown. That is such a mixed issue. On the one hand, if we give it to her, she can get ahold of these so called 'friends" who help her run away and break the rules. The positive thing is, we can get ahold of her, sometimes, when she does run, plus when we do random "text checks", we find out information we wouldn't know otherwise. On the other hand, if we take it from her, she can't get ahold of those "friends", but neither can we get ahold of her, as was the case on the 19/20th when she ended up with John. But for now, we have it in the safe.

I talked to Gretta (case manager) just a few minutes ago.
* She's going to call the clinic and see if the psychiatrist, Dr. Spieker, has any cancellations and can get her in sooner.
* She is hesitant to do anything else right now being we have court on Tuesday. She said anything we might do today (ie: inpatient at the hospital) might interfere with what the court may do next week. She's encouraging us to try and make it until then. The problem with that is that I need to work my 8 hour day tomorrow, plus 6 on Monday and 5 on Tuesday. I'd need to find a "babysitter' for those days.
*I'm bringing her into Gretta's office today. Since she doesn't know that we know this, I'm just going to tell her we need to stop there. Once she gets in there, we'll let her know what we know she took off last night. Gretta is going to talk with her, plus do a urinary analysis on her (drug test).

Then we'll stop and get groceries for the week and come home. No baseball game tonight. If you know anyone who'd like to have free Twins tickets, 18th row, for tonight, call me on my cell. I have them here and hate for them to go to waste.

Thanks again for your encouragement. Your words of support, your phone calls, the Scripture you share, they all help. We love you tons!

Just talked to Jessica with Crime Victim Services. She got the police report from North Mankato and we can file a report against John. She wants to meet with Cassie first, then she'll go with us. His middle name is Wesley and from the site she found, he's only had burglaries and traffic violations on his record, no sexual assault. So we'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted! wierd feeling had reason

She took off last night. Her wonderful "friend" Gina came and picked her up and they went cruising around. Thing is, her friend Mandy, didn't go with. She stayed here, got frustrated, and went home while Cassie was out. Amazing what a parent can learn from reading text messages. Unfortunately, we didn't find out until 5:30 this morning, after she was home and back in bed. Or maybe that was God's way of letting us get a good night's sleep. The good news is she is home and we didn't have the hours of worry, wondering where she is. The frustrating part is that she took off in the first place and was out all hours of the night doing whatever she was doing.

When I was praying about it this morning, I asked God why He let her go, when I had prayed that He would thwart any plans she had? I believe He answered that it's because she needs this would jump start our plans again. We clearly cannot trust her to stay home during the day, or at night.

Please, please, pray for direction and discernment for us today. Dar (reluctantly) went to work, and I have to stay home and make some phone calls, some decisions, some plans. Pray that her mental health case manager has some ideas as to what to do, possibly even putting her in-patient at Willmar, New Ulm, or Rochester. Pray that they don't just tell us to wait until court next week, because I don't know if we can wait that long. She seems to be on a one-way road to destroying herself.

Food that God has given me this week to sustain my spirit:

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust'" Psalm 91:1-2

"Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." Psalm 25:4-5

And I found this one this morning, which perfectly describes my heart right now:
"The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish" Psalm 25:17


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just have a wierd feeling...

It's been a wierd night. I tend to be a creature of habit. Those who know me well would say that I'm obsessive compulsive. Not extremely, but I do have my quirks. One of those is that I like to know where everything is, all the time. I have a certain place that I keep most everything. I can tell if my makeup or hairbrush have been used by the way it's placed on my table. I always put my credit card back in my wallet a certain way, etc. I just like to know where things are and so I put them very deliberately in their place.

Well, tonight I went to get my wallet so we could walk over and rent a movie. My wallet was not snapped shut. This is one of those things that I always do; I always snap my wallet shut when I've been in it. Now, I may be paranoid, but keep in mind that I have a daughter who has a tendency to lie, steal, and generally break the rules. For instance...on Wednesday, I bought a six-pack of Hershey's chocolate bars to use for s'mores when we do fire pits. Now, we have not had a fire pit since Kate's birthday party middle of May, so there's no reason those chocolate bars should even be open. However, today, I noticed that it has been opened in the last 24 hours and that literally half of the bars are missing. Dar's been at work, I've been at work. Chris is at church camp...that leaves ONE person in the home who could've eaten them. So I asked her about them. Nope, she only had one, not three. INSISTS that she only had one. Gets a little pissy when I push her on it. So I let it drop. Tonight, I found one wrapper in the garbage in the office and two in the drawer of the coffee table in the living room. Wierd place for a couple of wrappers, don't you think? Just one example of stupid things she'll take and then lie about. So yes, I get a little nervous when my wallet is left open. I've decided to start putting that in the safe along with the car key, extra check blanks, credit cards, etc. Sad that we have to do that in our own home, but it's just the way it is.

Wierd #2...I drove the car today. I got home, dropped the keys in my purse, and came in the house. How do I know I dropped the keys in my purse? Because I always drop the keys in my purse. Then once I get in the house I put them in the safe as soon as I remember to (see....not totally OCD lol). So, Dar gets home and wants to drive the car...and no keys. We've searched high and low for the keys. They are nowhere. Not in my pants pocket, not in my sweatshirt pocket, not on the desk, not on the table or counter or floor of the car. No where. Wierd, don't you think? Now might think I'm just being paranoid. She's only 14 they might say. Hasn't even had driver's ed. BUT, there was that one Sunday morning that we came out to the garage to go to church and the van was not parked where I'd parked it. It was closer to the wall then I always park it. (Yup, another of my wierd habits that I always do) Then we noticed there was significantly less gas in it then there'd been the night before. Since that time I found a note detailing exactly what did happen to my van that night, and let's just say I have cause to worry about a set of car keys that are missing.

Wierd #3 which really isn't so much wierd as it is a gut feeling that all is not well. Cassie has a friend over. Let's not get into why she has a friend over, let's just suffice it to say that this is a battle I'm weary of fighting and so she does. Now, there's FRIENDS (Becky and Felicia) who I like, trust, approve of, and then there's "friends" who I don't. The friend tonight is a young gal who I've no reason NOT to trust. She's never been involved (that I know of) in any of Cassie's shenanigans, never been disrespectful in my presence, never given me reason NOT to trust her. But, nonetheless, I don't. I just have a gut feeling that this is not a good friendship for my daughter's situation. Yet, because I don't have outright reason to not trust her, I let her come over. I figure this is a good way for me to "test" out the friendship under a little more of my control. So, here she is.

BUT, given all the other "wierdness" tonight, I'm unsettled. My heart/gut/spirit, whatever you want to call it, is not at peace. I've prayed, I've asked God to rebuke the devourer on our behalf, to protect our daughter, to thwart any and all plans that she may have of misbehaving, prayed for peace. Still...I'm unsettled. So, if you happen to be reading this tonight and happen to be talking to the Almighty, Powerful, Awesome Creator of the Universe, and you happen to mention our family to Him, it'd be much appreciated.

Thanks...I'm heading off to bed now. We've got the third car parked behind the other ones, the garage door unplugged, and we'll be sleeping without our fans on so we can hear any odd noises in the house tonight. Here's praying for a good night's sleep!

Love ya'll!

One minute, one step at a time

I apologize for the depressing tone of my last post. I don't usually give into my frustrations and depressing thoughts this often except to God (and mom lol). This outlet is helping me deal with all those emotions, so I appreciate ya'll letting me vent.

Yesterday's update. The Children's Mental Health Services (CMHS) case manager came over and she was really nice.

Yes, I did get my house pretty clean! Side story...Dar and I were supposed to go to a grad party for most of the afternoon on Sunday. We got into a stupid argument and he wouldn't go, so I said I wouldn't go if he didn't. He went upstairs and Cassie walked to her friend's party. I was grumbling to God and He said to me, "Well, you did say you needed a chance to get your house clean, didn't you?" I had to chuckle because, of course, He is always right and He has a GREAT sense of humor! So I spent the next hour until we made up in a cleaning frenzy! lol

Anyway, Gretta, the case manager, congratulated us on having all the appointments made that we do. Part of what she does is help families get those appointments made, and we were a step ahead of the game. She said that we are being very proactive. :-)

One of the frustrations we've been having in our home is that Cassie ONLY wants to hang out with her friends (at least they're the friends we like and trust), and she thinks that we are expecting too much family time. On our end, we feel like she's always with her friends and we are getting barely any time at all with her. We went fishing with the kids on Saturday morning, and that was family time, but of course, she had a friend with her. She says Felicia is like a second daughter to us, so it was still "family time". LOL. That's my Cassie...always an answer/argument for everything. We also watched a family movie on Saturday night, but she left in the middle of it. She was staying at a friend's house on Monday while I worked and so she spent the night and the friend needed to pick her up before the movie was done. So our point is that when we do get family time, there's friends either there, or interrupting it. Her point is that we should just be grateful for the time we get with her? Seemed like we were at an impasse anyway. Gretta suggested that we set a day or two each week that is designated family time and that way Cassie will know ahead of time and can plan around it. I thought that was a great idea that I'd never thought of! So we're going to do that as well as set up a couple of days a week that are friend time, so we can plan around that. Hopefully that will help with this constant argument.

Cassie will have a diagnostic done for CMHS by the psychiatrist in August and that will determine what needs to happen next. They'll do a "plan" with Cassie based on that, set goals, set supervision, etc. Until then Gretta will meet with Cassie once a month and at least talk to Dar and/or I on the phone that often as well. She'll also be going to court with us next Tuesday.

After Gretta left, Dar and I went to Mankato while Cassie stayed with Becky again. I went with him to his second job and then we went out for a late supper at Applebee's (1/2 price apps after 9pm! We were there at 10:30. lol) So it was nice to spend that time together.

Today Cassie and I met with Crime Victim Services. Jessica (the advocate with CVS) talked with Cassie for about 20 minutes alone. That is frustrating to me because it's all "confidential" and I can't know what they talk about unless Cassie chooses to tell me, which, of course, she won't. I want so badly to help her, but can't unless she opens up to us. I did talk to Jessica afterwards alone, and she told me to be patient. She said it's good for Cassie to have a third party to talk to since she won't talk to us because she needs to get it out somehow. And I know that, it's just that it's hard to know what to do for her when we don't know what's going on inside that head of hers. She did say that she wants to file a report if we find out we can.

So Jessica is going to get a copy of the police report from North Mankato for us and see if we can file a report on John. She's also going to see if she can find out if in fact he was in jail for statutory rape. If so, that might "encourage" the police to investigate this case once we file. So that part is helpful. Dar and I have not done anything, really, about pursuing the charges simply because we did not know what to do and couldn't find anyone else who knew either. So this helps push us in that direction.

That's about it. I ended up not going to Waseca to work on Monday after all, but I am going there tomorrow. I'll be working from 8:30 to 1 at the paper there and then going to Mankato to get our groceries for the week. Then as soon as Dar gets home we head up to the Cities for the Twins game. Dar got free tickets from his boss at his main job. We're in like the 18th row between 3rd & home, so they're good seats! Now we just hope they win! :-) I'm going to call one of Cassie's friend's mom's and see if Cassie can stay with them tomorrow night so we can have a worry-free date.

Specific prayer requests:
* Continued direction from God as to which steps to take and when, so we can help Cassie.
* For peace of mind for me (you can tell I'm really struggling right now with my emotions)
* For court to go well on Tuesday and for peace of mind for us as we try not to worry about it.
* That the healing work that God began in Cassie's mind and heart on Sunday would continue to completion. We believe He touched her on Sunday night and that she opened up her heart to Him some, so we pray that it continues and that she continues to be open to Him.
* For Christopher. We've had a couple of family members offer to do special things with him and we SO appreciate that! He'll be excited to spend time with you and it's good for him to get a break from all of our drama. Next week is his birthday and we've got court two days before and he's got a dentist appointment the day before his birthday. Poor kid! I'm trying to think of ways to make his birthday extra special for him.

Thanks again. You're all a blessing to us and we appreciate you. Our God is amazing and wonderful and we give Him ALL the glory and credit for every good thing in our lives, and that includes all of you! :-)