Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt
Several years ago, Maureen Pratt earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts/Playwriting from UCLA's School of Theater, FIlm and Television. She expected to be writing scripts. God had other plans.
A few years after her graduation, Maureen was diagnosed with a life-threatening case of organ-involved lupus. Her life turned upside down as she grappled with the effects of the illness and other health conditions that ensued. She was no stranger to serious health challenges; even as a child, Maureen had survived numerous bouts of pneumonia, flu, and other infections. But lupus made her take a fresh look at her life goals - and took herlifelong, strong Catholic Christian faith and writing in a direction she'd never imagined.
Today, Maureen writes and speaks about walking with the Lord while living with chronic pain and illness. She is the author of six books, including, "Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness" (Image Books/Randomhouse), "Beyond Pain: Job, Jesus, and Joy" (Twenty-Third Publications), "The First Year: Hypothyroidism, Second Edition" (Perseus) and "Taking Charge of Lupus: How to Manage the Disease and Make the Most of Your LIfe." She writes the syndicated column, "Living Well," for Catholic News Service, and has also written for Saint Anthony Messenger Magazine, Journey for Women Magazine, The Upper Room Magazine, LupusNow, and Arthritis Today. Maureen's health continues to be a challenge, however she feels honored to be able to bring her perspective, from experience and knowledge, to others.
"Good Days...Bad Days with Maureen Pratt" is a new way for Maureen to reach people who carry the burden of illness and pain in their lives, or who care for someone who does. Through the blog, she hopes to bring issues of health, wellness, and spirit into focus and, especially, inspire others that, no matter what health challenges, illness, or hardships they endure, each person can find a good way to realize the wonderful potential God has placed within each heart and soul.
Sometimes, a vibrant, powerful color provides just the right spark to lift our spirits and help us act with energy, determination, and eagerness. This month, red is that color, and it goes along perfectly with everything happening as February unfolds: […]
Want to make your good day even better? Give yourself permission to sleep! Before my lupus diagnosis, I overslept my alarm, steeled myself from taking naps that I craved, and felt guilty because I was so very, very fatigued. When […]
As a companion blog to “Prejudice – How We Cope,” I thought this might respond to those on the other side of chronic pain and illness: “To those who may be annoyed, put off, or otherwise inconvenienced by people with chronic […]
A recent news story about a waiter who refused to serve customers who made derogatory comments about a special needs child in a restaurant really hit home for me. How unusual – and refreshing – that an able-bodied person unrelated […]
Cold weather and pain are seldom a pleasant combination. For me, even when the temps dip below 50, I struggle (I also have Raynaud’s, which causes me to react to the cold in a finger-numbing way). Just thinking about it…Brrr! […]
Ooph! I’ve returned to my pre-holiday exercise routine…well, mostly…and the going is getting, well, it isn’t exactly what it was a couple of months ago. I expect for the next few weeks, I’ll be making up for those lose workouts […]
Whenever I speak to a group of people who live with chronic illness and/or pain, I like to use the analogy of our patient-hood as an athletic pursuit. Yes, we are athletes! Besides being like the Apostle Paul, who “ran […]
Yesterday, among the weekly supermarket circulars and coupons, there was a one-sheet announcement. A large nearby store, part of a chain that has been recently sold to another company, announced it was closing and would hold a “liquidation sale” beginning […]
This year’s flu season is already shaping up to be scary. It’s early, virulent, and rapidly overwhelming many U.S. hospitals and doctors’ offices. One of the things that makes this time of year very worrisome is the thought of adding […]
Aging can be problematic for many people, but especially for those of us whose health conditions sometimes make us feel as if we’ve aged way beyond our years. Nothing like arthritis in your 20s, or a heart attack in your […]
Our world is a precious, God-given gift. Thinking (and being) green when we clean out fhe medicine cabinet is one of the ways that we who live with chronic pain and illness can participate in environmentally conscious activities. How? By disposing […]
Today’s the “day after” my iron infusion and I’m at a very low ebb. Achy, headachy, slow…and wouldn’t you know that, when I got back from the long day yesterday, I had numerous emails and voicemails awaiting me. Things to […]
Don’t like pain? Don’t like needles? I’m right there with you. But today, I’ll be up close and personal with both. One of the illness I suffer from is iron deficient anemia, and periodically I have to get iron infusions. […]
Beginning the first week of the new year with going to a friend’s funeral might not be one of the easiest ways to start 2013, but it brought to mind something tremendously important to me: For inspiration in life, we […]
Three wise men followed a singular star to Bethlehem to pay homage to Our Lord. On the surface, this seems simple and direct; the three had seen an extraordinary sight and needed to follow it. But in the sky over […]
This new year, like many before, stretches ahead with promise and, I’m sure, lots of good days ahead. But it has begun a bit on the bumpy side. Holiday travel stirred up more than the usual aches and pains, some […]
Heavenly Father, you are with us now, Walking alongside us as we move into a new year. We are eager for all of the uplifting and inspiring things in store, But fearful, too, about the difficult times that are part of life. […]
The concept of a new year and how we approach it – with retrospectives, predictions, and resolutions – both puzzles and pleases me. It is good to take stock once in awhile, to assess where we’ve been, how much growth […]
Busy days, these have been, and well spent. But, if you, too, live with a chronic illness, you’ll understand: With the joy and cheer come extra fatigue and pain. I’m not complaining. Christmas is one of my favorite holy-days (Easter […]
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day! Glory to God in the Highest! We have come through Advent with a fuller understanding of what this holy season means and is, and we have deepened prayer and faith. We are here! And Christ is […]
Advent Day 22: Is your family broken? Often, we hear about people coming from broken homes, where parents decide to live apart and children may be shuttled from one to the other. But, today’s question isn’t about broken homes, it […]
Advent Day 21: Does your timing seem off? One of the most difficult things about the holiday season is wanting to do it all, but not having enough time to do it in. This is particularly appropriate for those […]
Advent Day 20: Are your plans falling apart? Does this seem familiar? Just as we’re getting down to the last weekend before Christmas, plans are unravelling. A flight is cancelled and you have to spend the night on the floor […]
Advent Day 19: What do you really want? As the days move swiftly to Christmas, we might get caught up in the undeniably enticing world of gift-giving and gift-getting. Whether at a gift swap at church or between two family […]
Advent Day 18: What’s stirring within? You’ve been working so hard for almost three weeks. Preparations for Christmas. Perhaps, travel. Visits with family and friends. Work. School. Health. And Advent. Many of your activities have been external, and you’ve […]
Advent Day 17: Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays? I’ve heard that the flu season has arrived early this year, and with is comes the “stop-you-in-your-tracks” possibility of being ill during this festive season. If you do not have […]
Advent Day 16: A week away, a world away? If Christmas Eve is only one week away, why does it seem like a world away? We’re in the thick of the Advent season, now. Perhaps it is increasingly difficult to […]
Advent Day 15: Have you noticed? Today in church, we hear the Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6. I’m particularly struck by the refrain: Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. […]
Advent Day 14: Shooting at a school in Connecticut: How do we respond? The horror of Friday’s shooting in a Connecticut school will be fresh in our minds for days and months to come. My heart breaks for the families […]
Advent Day 13: What do you love most about these days? The colors, smells, sounds, and sights of the Christmas season are varied and awesome. Each of us has at least one favorite thing, whether it is a treasured ornament, […]
Advent Day 12: Feeling a chill? The holiday season can bring out the best in people – and the worst. Whether on purpose or by accident, sometimes loved ones say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and a chill […]
Advent Day 11: Have you found your voice? John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Christmas songs spill one after the other from radios, televisions, and loudspeakers all around us. Have you […]
Advent Day 10: What about you? Rise early. Hurry up. Juggle. Add one, two, three more things to your list. Retire late. Repeat tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. Still two weeks away from Christmas, and you might already be feeling […]
Advent Day 9: Are you in a drought? The readings for today’s mass in the Roman Catholic liturgy begin with a wonderful, action-packed reading from Isaiah, Isaiah 35:1-10. It says, in part: The desert and the parched land will exult; […]
Advent Day 8: What is your light? What a beautiful time of year this is! Decorations in bright reds and greens, silver and gold adorn homes and shops and schools and streets. And, the lights! Those beautiful lights! For Advent, […]
Advent Day 7: Are you afraid to say “Yes”? Receiving a diagnosis of an illness is never easy. In fact, it might be nearly impossible to understand. Each of us has our own way of dealing with it. For some, […]
Advent Day 6: How far have we come? As we hurry about, preparing for Christmas, another important day is remembered: Pearl Harbor. Each year, fewer people remain with us who were here on that day and who recall when and […]
Advent: Day 5 Word Play: How do you say, “Merry?” “Merry Christmas!” “Merry Merry!” Meeerrrrrry Christmas!” We say it so often this month that we find ourselves saying it differently, whether just for variety or for emphasis. But, what does […]
Advent Day 4: Do you hear what I hear? Yes, there’s a Christmas song with those lyrics (one of my favorites, actually). And there’s also a potent and pertinent sentiment behind them. As we rush through these Advent days, do we take […]
ADVENT DAY 3: Are you on hold? Waiting on the telephone is often one of the most aggravating things that can happen in a day, especially because nothing much happens! Oh, we might hear a loop with the same music […]
ADVENT: Day 3 Are we there, yet? There is a child in each of us, and the Christmas Season brings it out like at no other time of year. As adults, we know the importance and benefit of delayed gratification […]
It’s Advent already?! Christmas is four weeks away!? There is precious little time these days to linger over lengthy blog posts. So much has to get done between now and December 25! And it’s not as if the rest of […]
Before this year, I have to admit that being an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease was not on my list of things to do. I was aware of the disease, had written a few columns about it, and had known people […]
What do you give someone who has Alzheimer’s disease? What can you possibly say or do that will express the love and gratitude you have for him or her, even if the disease is progressing and he or she is slipping […]
At Thanksgiving, many people will make great efforts to gather with loved ones, whether friends or family. The big dinner table groaning with food and surrounded by a crowd of adults and children has become almost essential when describing how […]
Oh, the joys of traveling at the holidays! The perfect scheduling, the ease of flying, the lack of crowds, the pain-free transit… Wait…what?! Well…not quite. Traveling at any time can be tough on even the healthiest person. But if you […]
When Laura Young, Jewish Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, presented her spiritual reflection on Alzheimer’s disease to the other Pastoral Care chaplains at Cedars, she did not know that I had requested an interview only a day […]
How can you communicate with someone whose mind and personality have changed so much that you do not recognize them any longer? How do you find the words? Or, are words necessary? Pamela Lazor is a Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical […]
I don’t think it’s by accident that the month of November, when we celebrate Thankgiving, also includes Veterans’ Day. In fact, as we honor Veterans of our Armed Services, I think it is so very fitting to extend our deepest thanks for […]
Often, when I bring up the subject of spirituality, inspiration, or faith with patient advocacy groups, the response I receive is lukewarm or even negative. As important as these elements are to sucessfully coping with any physical challenge, some people […]
In my journey to find out more about Alzheimer’s disease, I quickly realized that the most effective healthcare professionals were going to be those who combined scientific, quantifiable knowledge and skill with that all-important ingredient of compassion. I feel blessed […]
Lord, whether limited to issues in a small town or of national concern, the votes cast today throughout the United States will make a difference for the future. Please bestow your peace upon all who will be voting today. Let your Spirit […]
I waited, waited for the Lord; who bent down and heard my cry. Drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, Set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps. And put a new […]
Alzheimer’s disease has touched several people close to me, and as November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I would like to post several blogs about various aspects of this difficult health challenge. Already on the Beliefnet site are several pieces […]
God’s promise of unending love for us is so magnificently evident in the play of colors and graceful arc of the weather phenomenon that never ceases to make me pause, smile, and feel comforted. But, as those living in the […]
As Superstorm Sandy was battering the East Coast, I was going through some Really Bad Days, too. Nothing like losing myhome or seeing my community devastates, changed forever. But Really Bad Days nonetheless. And, I cried. It’s odd how, in […]
As this blog posts, the East coast of the United States may or may not be hit by “Frankenstorm,” an unprecedented melding of Hurricane Sandy and another weather system barrelling across part of the country. I’m far away from the […]
One simple sentence in the Bible has been resonating within my head and heart lately, especially as I speak and correspond with people who are in some way facing scary health situations. Here’s the sentence: Do not stifle the Spirit. […]
Earlier this year, as spring warmed into summer, I received a package of African violet leaves. No plants, or even seedlings. Just leaves, carefully labeled with the name of the variety. I placed each leaf in a little “seed starter” […]
“Ouch!” “Eeeee!!!” “Ow!” “Oooh…” You may or may not find these words in your favorite dictionnary, but if you live with chronic pain, you’ll probably have used them or others to describe how a particular pang, ache, or jab feels. […]
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This horrible scourge affects people at all levels of society and, although women are most often the victims of domestic violence, many children and men suffer, too. Here is a prayer to accompany this […]
In my book, “Beyond Pain: Job, Jesus, and Joy,” much of the section on Job involves Job himself – his life, his suffering and, eventually, his finding immense joy. But integral to telling Job’s story is also the subject of […]
Bible passages about the beauty and symbolic strength of human hair abound – and became rather difficult for me to read around the time that I began to develop full-blown lupus. One of the first symptoms indicating something was seriously wrong […]
What makes you smile? Oh, not a toothy grin, and not a sad melancholy expression. And, not life’s laugh tracks, the times we’re supposed to laugh just because everyone else is (and usually because of embarrassment, not joy). Rather, what […]
How often have you wanted to accomplish something, yet pain or illness prevented you from reaching your goal? How did you feel about that? Not good? Discouraged? Frustrated? Hopeless? Success means something different to each of us, but to many […]
“I don’t need anyone to help me with my illness. I don’t need other people, and I don’t need God. I can do it all by myself.” The woman speaking had come to one of my booksignings. She sat […]
Chronic pain can often have us looking down for days. Looking down at life, other people who don’t seem to understand, doctors, even our dearest friends. Pain can get us down, too, to someplace that seems heavy, burdensome, and without […]
If you can perform everydays tasks without pain, you might not fully understand the deep emotion that accompanies the title of this blog post. To you, I say, please read on. And to those who “get it,” well, you are […]
When I was newly diagnosed with lupus, people would often ask me, “What symptoms do you have?’ When I’d say, “Well, I get fatigued,” they might reply, “Oh, but, you take naps, so you must feel better after that,” or, […]
Lunch time. I walked into the kitchen and quickly assembled all the ingredients for a healthful meal – fresh mushrooms, zucchini, onions, a little olive oil, three egg whites (and, okay, one yolk), and seasonings of herbs garlic and pepper. […]
As I’ve lived with serious illnesses for many years, people often ask me what helps keep me positive and determined to make the most of life. I always answer: Faith. Keeping faith foremost is not always the easiest thing to […]
Hello! I’m delighted to start off this Monday with my first Beliefnet Blog. Health, wellness, spirit and faith are all potent subjects, so there’ll be lots to talk about here. And, I hope to hear from you, too, as the […]
Memorial Day: As We Remember
The important thing about remembering past wars is that we use their lessons to think of ways to avoid future wars - and to act on those peace-making ways.
This Memorial Day, beyond the barbecues and parties, the shopping and the relaxing, ...
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posted 2:00:48am May. 21, 2015
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TLC Tuesday: Accept No Substitutes!
"I'll go to the gym instead of taking a nap - I'll feel more energy afterward."
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posted 10:00:42pm May. 19, 2015
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A Praying Spirit: One Word at a Time
When I was a youngster, I used to be really mad that people in church seemed to rush through the prayers.
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posted 1:31:56am May. 16, 2015
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