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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Streps for GDBDWhether it’s juggling the household budget so you can keep a roof over your head and maintain your medical needs, or it’s learning to live differently from “before illness,” and thrive, we who have chronic illness must often rely on our ability to be creative. To think “outside” the box. To adapt and change and still be true to our inner core and to what God wishes for us to be.

But creativity requires energy and persistence. Drive and determination. Trust and a childlike ability to play “what if” when pain and doubt seem all too commonplace.

Nurturing creativity becomes important, then. But, how?

Recently, I was amazed and delighted to discover that the unconventional things I’d done to get a particular plant to bloom in an unlikely place has worked. The plant, a stretocarpus, was one of those “can’t resist” purchases at a local African violet show. Someone told me it could be grown outdoors because of our climate, but someone else was skeptical. Yet another person said that they were difficult to get to bloom; they needed just the right soil and conditions. I read all I could about the plant, and decided to try growing it on my balcony in cactus soil. The picture here is proof that my “unconventional” way of growing the little beauty worked – and I’m really enjoying the results, borne of being just a little creative.

Here are some suggestions for nurturing your creative abilities so they enhance your life – stemming from (sorry for the pun) my experience growing the streptocarpus.

1) Do not believe “It cannot be done,” when it comes to living purposefully with chronic illness. If you get stuck on “cannot,” you’ll never get to “can.”  If I hadn’t dared try, I wouldn’t have a lovely plant blooming on my balcony.

2) Find a healthful way. Learn all you can about what you want to do with and in spite of illness. Talk to others who have gone before you. Find a way, a healthful way, to carry out your purpose. I learned what others had planted their streps in and found something that I thought might work under my conditions.

3) Be open to surprises. Setting up specific expectations only takes us so far in our life journey. But insisting that our spirits remain open to surprises enables us to reach beyond the concrete “steps and plans” we humanly set up for ourselves. I learned this as my little strep put out first one, then two, then three, and now four blossoms! Truly beyond my expectations.

4) Use positive prayer and affirmation. Ask God to encourage you, and be encouraging to yourself, too. Say, “I know I can find a way.” and “With God all things are possible.” Banish negative speak and criticism, unless it’s healthy, until your creativity has blossomed and you’re on your way – and then, soar!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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