Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Loss

My Memere, 3 years ago
at age 99
It's been a very eventful few weeks. We had to deal with Jim's most recent health issues, and the night before Thanksgiving, my 102 year old grandma passed away after many years of living with Alzheimer's. Her passing was a blessing, as she had absolutely almost no quality of life whatsoever, and she had not known who we were for years. We expected it, we even prayed for it, and yet, when she did pass, I was surprised by how it affected me. I will never, ever be able to talk about my Memere in the present tense again. It also saddened me when I realized I would not need to buy her a Christmas present this year. Or ever again.

There is nothing that annoys me more than when someone passes, and everybody talks about them like they were a perfect saint. It just seems so . . . hollow and fake. My Memere wasn't perfect (who is?), and we had our issues, but I still have many wonderful memories of her from when I was a little child. As someone who struggles terribly with perfectionism, it is hard for me to deal with both sides of people (myself included). I tend to think of people as all wonderful, or if I don't see them that way, it is very hard for me to deal with them at all. There is no question that polarized thinking follows me everywhere. I'm learning to accept all sides of people, both good and bad, (again, myself included). If I'm hurt by someone or don't agree with what someone did, I am trying extremely hard to forgive and move on, even if they never realize or acknowledge the wrongdoing. It is not easy. It doesn't mean that I'm ignoring wrongdoing, or not dealing with it at the time. But, I'm sure you understand what I mean, when I say there are times you must forgive and move on. I've chosen to focus now on the positives of my relationship with my grandma, because there absolutely were a lot of positives. I think she did the best she could for her family.

I'm not exactly an angel either. I let my OCD get in the way of being there for her in the last several years. I really hate that about myself. I thought I would be consumed with guilt at her passing because of that. Strangely enough, I'm not. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing myself. I guess I'm just trying to apply the same healthier thought patterns to myself. I can't change my past behavior anymore than I can change someone else's. So, what I'm left with, is the need for forgiveness and acceptance once again. Only this time, it's towards myself. I've asked my Lord for forgiveness. Now, I need to follow His lead.

Christmas will be bittersweet for my family this year, as I'm sure it will be for many others. God bless you if you are dealing with loss, and all that goes with it, right now. I pray that He comforts you with His love, His peace, and wonderful memories of your loved one.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 ESV

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Deja Vu?

It was almost exactly 3 years ago (12/13/10) that Jim was released from the hospital after a week and a half stay that was due to a life threatening flare of Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn's Disease. And . . . yesterday (12/14), we were in the emergency room again. To keep him in remission from his disease, he gets an infusion of immune suppressing medication every 8 weeks. Because his immune system is now compromised, any type of cold/flu/fever can be dangerous for him. So when his temp hit 101, I called the doctor's office, and we were then directed to go to the ER.
Jim was not too happy with me that I
forced him to go to the ER!

Being that uncertainty is at the core of OCD, these types of things usually drive me crazy (literally). I always worry that he might die or be disabled for life. And the memories. Oh, the bad, bad memories of 3 years ago that continue to haunt me every November/December since then. Well, truthfully, they haunt me all the time.

I was definitely scared yesterday, don't get me wrong. But I never felt out of control or overwhelmed. I can't believe I'm saying this, but in some ways, those bad memories served a good purpose. I remembered how awful things were at that previous time, but I also remembered that I got through it. That helped me tremendously yesterday. I knew things could have been much, much worse, and even if they did get worse, we would find a way to survive.

I have been petrified about this type of health problem for 3 long years. I've had massive anticipatory anxiety. It finally happened. The world did not collapse. I tried really hard to focus on our blessings. The ER staff was great. They took his condition very seriously and treated him cautiously. Tons of our friends and family were praying for us. I'm sure that was why I was relatively at peace yesterday. We managed to make it to the hospital and back home before a major snowstorm (10 inches) hit us. There is a lot to be grateful for.

Oh, and Jim just happens to be on the mend! Today was a pretty good day for him and it seems like his fever is gone.

We are so much stronger than we think we are. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Remember, OCD lies to us. Just because we feel weak, it doesn't make it true.