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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Lent and Food: Giving Up, Adding On

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Marcus/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Marcus/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I do not know anyone who does not like to eat. And, along with the physical activity of chowing down, we all have our favorite foods.  During Lent, some will give up a favorite or two, as a way of sacrificing something to draw deeper into the season. A priest once encouraged me not to “give up,” but to “add” something instead – an act of charity, an extra hour or two in prayer. Something positive. Something profound.

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This year, I’m going to add something to my meals. No, not an extra helping! :) Rather, I’m going to add an extra prayer for those whose hands helped bring the food to the table. I don’t know their names, but I know their work – and it is good. I don’t see them in the fields or behind the plows, but I know that they are making good use of their time – and I appreciate it. I cannot thank them all in person, although I would like to – so, I pray for them and their families.

With the election cycle heating up, and much of the news focused on more rural parts of the country, I have heard more than one disparaging remark about “rural people,” and especially farmers. For some reason, there are some people who think little of the those who till the land and harvest the crops. As if knowing how to farm and doing it well were not a skill requiring attention, patience, knowledge, and physical stamina (which it does). Ironically, the same people who would think less of a farmer than someone in urban areas would never want to give up eating!  Oh, dear…

Adding to my prayers,  I’ll also lift up those people who talk down about farmers and farming. May they have an opportunity sometime to dig in the dirt and come away more appreciative of the dedication and work of those who give us the food on our tables!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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On This Ash Wednesday

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of SiraAnamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of SiraAnamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lent begins again, so quickly! Seems like we just celebrated Christmas, with all the joy and light, and are now abruptly throwing that off for something much more somber. At time of atonement, soul-searching, and personal, spiritual cleansing.

But do we truly need to forget Christmas? Do we have to proceed into this Lent with heavy hearts and eyes and ears closed to more uplifting thoughts and actions?

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Could it be that there is some joy in the soul-searching? Something positive in our atonement?

For me, Ash Wednesday is the herald of a season that I enter into eagerly, with hope and anticipation. It is a time of turning back to God, of taking more moments and long stretches of hours to examine my relationship with Our Lord and ways to make it ever stronger, ever present in my daily life. This particular year, a Jubilee Year with a focus on mercy, is also an invitation to improve the ways I interact with others, help others, and communicate with others.  This is wonderful, not at all somber and heavy-hearted. More time with God! More time trying to improve as a person! What a gift!

So, although the ashes might make a very dark smudge at the center of my forehead, they also feather outward and dust downward, a reminder that this is a holy time and also a hopeful time, a blessed gift and an opportunity.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Being Good to Your Heart

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s Heart Health month, and no time like the present to think about being good to your heart, inside and out. Of course, we know the usual things: Having regular check-ups, knowing the signs of a heart attack or stroke, eating healthfully, not smoking, exercising regularly (with our doctors’ advice and guidance). But these things can become so “usual” that we might forget why we’re doing them. And when we lose motivation to pursue good heart health, we might risk dropping good habits, which can be tough to commit to in a busy and sedentary world.

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So, this brief post is meant to remind us of why it’s important to be good to our hearts.

Our hearts are mechanical marvels, muscles that pump whether we are awake or asleep. Helping them be as healthful as possible means that we are also helping ourselves live, breathe, and be at our best.

Our hearts are the driving physical force to enable us to achieve our goals, reach and stretch, do and dream.

Our hearts give us the energy and vitality to be able to engage in prayer and help others, to endure what we thought we could not and to rise above adversity.

Our hearts are a precious gift from God. They are amazing. And the more we are good to them, the more we will be able to do!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: In Advance

posted by mpratt

Second close-up of pictureThe tests I mentioned in an earlier post went very well, and I’m “out the other side” of that particular challenge! And one of the things that helped bring about smooth sailing was what I did in advance of even going out the front door.

In my upcoming new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough (which is available now for pre-order on Amazon), I talk a lot about how we prepare to meet crises. Not that we walk around thinking, “The sky is going to fall, I know it!” But that we take steps to make ourselves as strong as we possibly can before a crisis occurs (and we all know that one or more crisis will occur in each of our lives at some time!).

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For the tests I had to have recently, for example, I took some steps to bring a bit of comfort and something distracting. I’ve done this before; once, when I was first diagnosed with lupus and had to go through tests that took the better part of a day (with lots of waiting around time), I took decks of children’s card games (Go Fish!, Old Maid, etc.) and friends took turns visiting with me and playing the games. We were quite a sight – a group of adults intent on being the first to gather all the like card of Go Fish!  But the distraction helped tremendously, and the activity was a lot of fun.

Anyway, this time, for comfort, I took a couple of snack bars, a container of warm water with honey, and a bottle of water, some socks and a cap for my head. For distraction, I took something to read that was far off-topic of the subject of my tests. These preparations truly helped bring even more calm, and I also spent much time praying and thinking of far-flung friends and favorite places.

With serious chronic illnesses, we usually cannot avoid long stretches of time in waiting rooms or undergoing tests, but what we do in advance can help take away much of the stress.

Smooth sailing is a wonderful thing when you’re headed into choppy waters!

Peace,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Lent and Food: Giving Up, Adding On
I do not know anyone who does not like to eat. And, along with the physical activity of chowing down, we all have our ...

posted 7:20:22pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

On This Ash Wednesday
Lent begins again, so quickly! Seems like we just celebrated Christmas, with all the joy and light, and are now ...

posted 7:09:34pm Feb. 10, 2016 | read full post »

Being Good to Your Heart
It's Heart Health month, and no time like the present to think about being good to your heart, inside and out. Of course, ...

posted 7:00:36pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: In Advance
The tests I mentioned in an earlier post went very well, and I'm "out the other side" of that particular challenge! And one of the things that helped bring about smooth sailing was what I did in advance of even going out the front door. In my ...

posted 6:46:52pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: How We Give
When you have a chronic illness, and associated expenses and unexpected health upsets, it can be hard to figure out how to give to those who are less fortunate (and, yes, although it might be hard to imagine, there are many people who are less ...

posted 5:20:22pm Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

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