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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Earth-shaking Faith

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I heard reports of the devastation from the earthquake in Nepal and neighboring countries, I thought of two things: I remembered a friend who had, a few years ago, climbed partway up Mt. Everest. I recalled what he had told me about the base camp, and my mind’s eye saw the pictures of his trip in a whole new, sad light – my friend and his father had been successful in their journey, but now, so many who had hopes of achieving the same goal had been killed in the act of achievement, buried by avalanches triggered by the quake. I prayed for these climbers-who-were-fallen, and for their families. And I prayed that those who were going in to retrieve and, possibly, rescue others would be kept safe and not lose hope.

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The second thing I thought of was the destruction that had occurred to so many ancient buildings of faith, temples that had withstood so very much during their lifetime that were now little more than rubble. This is a tragedy, and not one easily overcome, considering the profound, centuries-long meaning instilled in each structure. I prayed that the prayers that had been lifted up by many in those houses of worship would be loosed on the world, swirling around those who remain, to ignite a fire of determination and steadfast belief.

For although the earthquake destroyed precious people and places, as the dust and the earth settle, there are still people who remain and a world ready to help.

Beyond the terror and the pain – yes, there is hope carried along by those who remain.

Peace,

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: Fair Weather Prayer

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever prayed beneath the bright blue sky of God’s creation? Or knelt on soft grass and given thanks to its Creator?

We might pray for rain, or for warm days to come after a hard winter. But besides praying for weather and other things of the earth, one of the best ways to get close to God in prayer is to take our supplication outdoors. There, it’s easy to imagine God’s hand in the wind, or see His handiwork in the clouds. New growth on winter-worn branches reminds us of God’ eternal love, and that once-dormant bush springing to life (a pun in the best sense of the word “Spring!”) is testament to the promise of the rainbow fulfilled. God’s earth will be with us forever – and for this He is forever worthy of praise and prayer!

Try a fair weather prayer this week. Or, if it’s raining, settle in by a window and look out at the natural spring of rejuvenation coming from the heavens. Lift up your prayers then, too. For it is all good!

Blessings,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: When You’re Just Not Pretty

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However hard we try, sometimes, in life with a chronic illness, we are just not pretty. Rashes, hair loss, weight gain or loss, bruises, swelling in places we don’t want it – oh, the list is long! And, when the visible signs of chronic illness (or the audible sounds of an infection) are very, very strong, well, we just might opt for opting out of activities that put us in social situations where we’ll feel conspicuous. Better, we might think, to be in a protective environment than have to explain ourselves or silently bear the stares and glares of others. And, yes, sometimes that is better, because our emotions are tied in with our health, and sometimes we’re just too fragile to warrant venturing out.

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But sometimes, it’s good to take stock of those less-than-attractive attributes and creatively, positively deal with them in a way that gives us a bit more confidence and helps us live a bit more socially.

Nearly 20 years ago, at the beginning of the horrible flare that ushered in lupus, I lost all of my hair. Since then, I’ve had one year when it grew back enough so that I did not have to wear wigs or other head coverings. I’ve long ago shed (pardon the pun) my embarrassment at being bald, and instead have learned to enjoy the variety available in the wigs, etc., that I have acquired. Moreover, I’ve learned how to move beyond “this is not pretty” to acceptpositively I interact with others; if I wilt under someone’s stare, I project weakness and sadness. But, if I smile back, despite how I feel or how lupus is affecting me that particular day, I project strength and faith.

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Above all, it’s important to remember that we are, each of us, beautiful within. No cliche meant, here, only truth. Because each person who lives will experience physical changes that dismay, confound, or confuse. The aging process does not skip anyone! But it is the Spirit inside, the light and the humanity within, that carries abiding beauty that never ages and always shines – as long as we cherish and nurture it!

Blessings,

Maureen

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The Power of the Nap

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Lavoview/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Lavoview/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, one of the things I learned was that the fatigue of a flare can be overwhelming. “Bone-numbing” is a description I’ve used a lot to try to help others understand how beyond-tired I can suddenly feel.  Of course, as with many lupus patients, my diagnosis did not happen exactly when the disease first presented itself. I probably had lupus way before a doctor figured it out – I had no clue what lupus even was until my rheumatologist told me that’s what she thought I had.

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One thing I did know way before lupus, however, was the power of the nap. The llooonnng nap – two or three hours of snoozing away in the middle of the day. Ah, what a wonderful thing! You can imagine, then, how delighted I was when my doctor told me that I had to rest, had to take naps! Being given permission to nap was much like being told I could eat a whole, big bar of chocolate in one sitting!  Yes, lupus has its perks; I’m always looking for a bright side, and when it comes to allowing for rest and, especially, naps, for me, there’s no question.

Turns out, too, that a growing body of research is showing that even short naps in the middle of the day can have some benefits. Naps can rejuvenate our minds, helps tense muscles relax, and allow the subconscious to work on pesky problems whose solutions elude us in the glare of a full-forward workday. Yup, naps are not just beneficial to pre-schoolers and kindergarteners!

Sometimes, we might view taking time to nap as a weakness. But whether you have a chronic illness like lupus or a highly stressful job that requires extended hours of attention, you might think about tapping into the power of napping. You might wake up to a whole new level of you!

Joys,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Earth-shaking Faith
When I heard reports of the devastation from the earthquake in Nepal and neighboring countries, I thought of two things: I ...

posted 9:26:59pm Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Fair Weather Prayer
Have you ever prayed beneath the bright blue sky of God's creation? Or knelt on soft grass and given thanks to its ...

posted 9:17:04pm Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: When You're Just Not Pretty
However hard we try, sometimes, in life with a chronic illness, we are just not pretty. Rashes, hair loss, weight ...

posted 5:36:18pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

The Power of the Nap
When I was first diagnosed with lupus, one of the things I learned was that the fatigue of a flare can be overwhelming. ...

posted 5:21:45pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain and Illness: Who Is By Your Side?
Long days of illness can wear on us, and often make us feel as if we are navigating choppy waters in a leaky boat all by ourselves. How well I know the feeling when I'm especially ill of the hours dragging on, thinking that everyone else is out ...

posted 5:24:50pm Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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