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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Encouragement in Life Archives

Happiness from the Outside, In

posted by mpratt

“Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.”  Samuel Levenson, American humorist (1911-80) My page-a-day Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar often has pithy quotes that stir my thinking. The one above, on Thursday’s page, struck me as tremendously appropriate […]

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Up to the test

posted by mpratt

The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the tester of hearts is the Lord Proverbs 17: 3   Living with illness and pain can seem like one, long, test. And, in many ways, it is. These challenges […]

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Lent’s Call

posted by mpratt

Happy the people who know you, Lord, who walk in the radiance of your face.     Psalm 89:16   Happy Lent to you! Happy?  Lent? You might ask. Yes, a very happy Lent. Because we can feel a bit […]

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Reminder: No Two Snowflakes Are Alike!

posted by mpratt

This was one of the first things I heard when I was diagnosed with lupus. “Lupies are like snowflakes – no two are alike.” It’s turned out to be a truly wise statement, in myriad ways. And it’s good to […]

Be gentle – to yourself

posted by mpratt

A friend and I were going to get together, but she ended up in bed with the flu.  She was “really, really sorry” that our plans couldn’t work out. But, “Be gentle to yourself,” I told her. All else can […]

Having a bad day? Cue the music

posted by mpratt

What is the soundtrack of your life? What songs lift you up? Make you want to move? Make you laugh? Make you cry? What songs do you take with you when you’re going to the doctor’s office? Or, having surgery? […]

Caring and not caring about what others think

posted by mpratt

Illness can be very ugly. Yes, it can be that horrible blot on our lives, and certainly change our appearance in undesirable ways.  And one of the hardest things to handle it is when we’re out in public – or […]

Spring will come

posted by mpratt

A dear friend of mine who also suffers from severe lupus is not a believer. Nevertheless, we share a very profound sense of faith that’s summed up by saying, “Spring will come.” Of course, from my perspective, the phrase relates […]

Never Enough

posted by mpratt

If you’re sick, in pain, and low, you might have heard yourself say, “I don’t have enough support.” or, “I don’t have enough money to get the care that I need.” or, even, “I don’t have enough energy/mobility/resources/hope to feel […]

One, Brief Window?

posted by mpratt

The weight of pain and illness, and the limitations these bring to daily life, can become excruciating, oppressive. But beneath the heavy burden of physical challenges is, often, a glimmer of light. Even if the door to wholeness and health […]

Hearing and Listening

posted by mpratt

“He just didn’t listen to the doctor,” she said to the paramedic as he opened the ambulance door. “He went out there and shoveled that snow anyway.” “I heard the doctor,” he said, lifting his head from the stretcher. “But […]

Love Inside, Love Outside

posted by mpratt

Happy Valentine’s Day! Despite the challenges we face, and the pain we endure, this is an uplifting day…and one for reflecting on the active, reflective effect of love on our world. What do I mean by that? I think especially […]

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt

One of the things that helps me most to move forward is to look back, to see where I’ve been. Many times haven’t been easy, and many situations have not had clear answers or resolutions. But I “in the now” […]

Dress for success

posted by mpratt

When those skimpy hospital gowns make you shudder, and the only “social” appointments you have entail going to a doctor’s office or pharmacy, there’s nothing like a little “dress for success” action to help motivate you and inspire others! It […]

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by […]

Someone is waiting for you

posted by mpratt

February’s focus on Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people who are isolated because of illness and pain. For some, even if they are surrounded by family and friends, they can feel lonely because of their physical limitations, depression, […]

The dust bunnies in our lives

posted by mpratt

Usually at the beginning of the year, I try to de-accession some of my possessions. This year, I made a very serious effort at figuring out what I had that I no longer needed that someone else could benefit from. […]

Willing to teach

posted by mpratt

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about how those people who are ill, infirm, or otherwise in need of care are not burdens on society but rather, they teach others to care. They also allow others to act […]

Just for fun

posted by mpratt

Today is the perfect day to do something just for fun. Actually, every day is perfect, but why not start today? Just because you have a chronic illness or just because my knees buckle doesn’t mean we are unworthy of […]

We teach others to care

posted by mpratt

Every time I hear or read about the “burden” that the ill, frail, and disabled place upon society, I want to scream. The reference is usually made in terms of the financial cost, but it can also be couched as […]

When you think you’ve had enough

posted by mpratt

There’s a curious thing that happens to many writers when they reach the middle of a particular project: They want to turn back, start a new project, or otherwise abandon their current work-in-progress because it seems to be completely fogged […]

You can be contagious!

posted by mpratt

Just as surely as we allow our bad days to make for bad moods and thus make for more isolation than relationships, so, too, on our good days, our lifted spirits can be the spark that makes for the ultimate […]

Lazarus and us

posted by mpratt

What a powerful story of love and God’s power is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead! And what a blessing that, in Scripture, we have more than just a paragraph of the account. In John, for example, […]

A tip for rising above procrastination

posted by mpratt

Putting off something important? Waiting for the perfect moment before you take action on a step toward a goal? We all do it, of course. But what separates failures from successes? The ability to throw aside the tendency to procrastinate […]

Oh, that most difficult of questions: How are you?

posted by mpratt

It’s become a part of our greeting ritual, but it’s also one of the most difficult questions we face. “How are you?” Usually, there’s a perfunctory, “Fine. How are you?” And the answer to that one? “Fine, thanks.” And the […]

Your favorite football fan doesn’t get it? Now’s your chance!

posted by mpratt

I am not a football fan, but I know many people who are. And, in appreciation for their vast knowledge of all things football, I offer here a way for those of us who have chronic illness and pain to, […]

Stuck? Add a grace note

posted by mpratt

Even if you are not musically inclined, when you’re stuck in a rut, hole, or other foot-freezing, spirit-stunting space in your life, there’s nothing like adding a grace note to get you back on your purposeful path. What’s a grace […]

How do you react?

posted by mpratt

People can be so cruel. Recently, I was driving home and saw a person in a car nearly hit a pedestrian who was “of a certain age,” and moving more slowly than the impatient driver wanted her to. True, the […]

How can you set goals when they keep moving?

posted by mpratt

It’s slippery, skittish, and speedy – chronic illness can lie relatively quiet for a time and then pounce on you from seemingly nowhere. One day, one moment, you might be forging ahead on steps toward a goal: Tapering medication, finishing […]

Your Olympic season

posted by mpratt

If you read the title of this blog post and laughed, you’re not alone. Many people simply do not think of themselves as athletic, let alone Olympic caliber. But if you’ve lived awhile with the challenges of chronic illness and […]

That spark of something

posted by mpratt

Living with chronic illness often entails suffering tremendous losses. These blows to a fragile spirit can quickly lead to a dull, deep down feeling of hopelessness. You might ask, “Will my life ever mean anything, again?” or, “What’s the point […]

Signs of God’s Love

posted by mpratt

“Would you like some apple juice?” The nurse’s assistant was new to my doctor’s office, and I had only just met her. But as she helped the phlebotomist draw more than 11 tubes of blood from my arm, she could […]

Advent of a New Year

posted by mpratt

The period between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is short, but we do spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about it. For many, there is relief at seeing the “old” year go, and for some, anxiety […]

Please remember, you cannot fail Christmas!

posted by mpratt

It’s a couple of days after the holiday, a couple of days after we sang Noel and celebrated the birth of Our Lord. And, perhaps, as the leftovers are settled and the wrapping is dispatched, you might begin to feel […]

Christmas Dawns!

posted by mpratt

It doesn’t matter how much there is still left to do, nor how much will go undone.  It doesn’t matter that the Christmas cake is a little over-cooked, nor that the casserole doesn’t taste exactly like grandmother’s did. Ingredients omitted, […]

Winter Wonder-land

posted by mpratt

Didn’t it begin earlier? Winter, I mean. Snow has already blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere, and cold temps have thrown many areas into a deep freeze. Yet, calendar-wise, winter has only begun on December 21. Makes me wonder if […]

Happiness in a Box?

posted by mpratt

I’ve had more doctor appointments than usual, lately, because of the episode with my eye. So, I’ve tried to “lighten” things up by finding bits of humor. I recommend this for any heart that is heavy with the burdens of […]

Chronic Illness: Teetering on Your Pedestal?

posted by mpratt

During holiday season, we come in contact with many more people than we usually do. In the course of our conversations, we probably talk about the health challenges we’ve endured throughout the year-almost-past (or, at least some of them).  And, […]

Active Peace

posted by mpratt

We’re almost halfway through Advent, nearly two weeks away from once again welcoming the Prince of Peace. How is your peace? Are you frazzled from all the activity of the Season, yet? Feeling buffeted by family squabbles that have a […]

Bringing Glad Tidings

posted by mpratt

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,     because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,     to heal the brokenhearted To proclaim liberty to the captives […]

Important to Remember

posted by mpratt

If my experience last week is any example, I was strongly reminded that illness does not go on a holiday during the holidays – and when things go awry, it’s important to seek the right help, even if it interferes […]

Derailed at Holiday Time?

posted by mpratt

Advent. Christmas. New Year’s. Every year, they come around once a year. And we plan carefully, putting activities into narrow windows, packing them into our schedules.But often, for those of us with chronic illness and pain, we can be derailed. […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Holiday Budget Blues

posted by mpratt

A harsh reality of life with chronic illness and pain is that it is expensive both in terms of what it costs medically (doc visits, medications, etc.) and productively (perhaps you cannot work as much anymore, or at all and […]

Tips for the Caroling Coward

posted by mpratt

Are you the one who hangs back in the crowd, hoping that no one can hear you croak as others carol? Do you pretend to not be able to find the right page in the hymnal as others are singing […]

The greater the cheer, the greater the pain?

posted by mpratt

If you have felt great loss this year, or if your health challenges are weighing heavily upon your spirit and life, the “cheer” that accompanies this season can be particularly difficult to be around.  In fact, the great the cheer […]

A Different Kind of Advent

posted by mpratt

Prepare the way! Advent is here – four weeks of waiting and watching and listening…and doing all manner of things to get ready for Christmas.  Because Advent comes every year, we’ve probably memorized all of the Scripture readings, song lyrics, […]

Peace at home is peace at heart

posted by mpratt

Soft rain is pattering against the roof, punctuated by the occasional seagull screeching in flight.  The Christmas music is on. The tree is lit. It’s a fittingly quiet day after a very good Thanksgiving – and a blessedly peaceful one, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Camera Shy?

posted by mpratt

With apologies to the beloved Christmas tune, “It’s the most photographed time of the year!” From now until the New Year, millions, if not billions of pictures will be snapped. Hours and hours of video will be shot. And you, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Be Forkful!

posted by mpratt

Hold onto your waistlines! One of the most challenging parts of the holidays is eating, especially if you have a restricted diet to begin with. The temptations – “Just one cookie won’t hurt,” “You can always work it off afterward,” […]

Where Does It Hurt?

posted by mpratt

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk about “Spiritual Suffering” at a large medical center in Los Angeles. The topic came at the end of a difficult, yet grace-filled year – a great way for God to help […]

Prepping for the Holidays

posted by mpratt

Are you ready? Ready for the Holiday Season? Perhaps some of you are. But if you are more inclined to utter an “Oh, no!’ instead of an “Amen!”, I understand completely.  We’re never fully ready, are we? And if we […]

Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s: Does It Matter What You Say?

posted by mpratt

I have heard from a few people with relatives in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, and some have asked, “Does it matter what you say?”  This seems to come up especially with regard to general conversation and prayer: With the […]

Alzheimer’s Foundation 2014 Candlelighting Event

posted by mpratt

The weekend of November 15-17, 2014, will again be the time when groups and individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease may commemorate their and their loved ones’  journey through the Alzheimer’s Foundation National Candlelighting Event.   There will be events throughout […]

Feeling Like a Failure?

posted by mpratt

At some point in a life with chronic illness and pain, we feel as if we’ve failed. Failed at keeping healthier. Failed at following doctor’s orders. Failed at relationships. Failed at life. No matter how many reassurances we get from […]

Seeking a Mentor

posted by mpratt

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I asked my doctor if she thought that joining a support group would be a good idea for me. She hesitated, then said, “No. There will be people who are depressed, negative, and […]

Alzheimer’s disease caregivers: What not to assume

posted by mpratt

As I  mentioned in a previous post, I am going to focus  this Alzheimer’s disease Awareness and Education Month on the role and work of the caregiver.  These amazing men and women (and some younger people) are in the trenches […]

How do you grow a good life?

posted by mpratt

So often, I hear people who have chronic illness say, “I want a life!” or “I don’t even have a life!” I understand what they mean. All of us experience that wrenching away from what we have enjoyed or found […]

All Saints…All Souls

posted by mpratt

This beginning of November combines many poignant things – celebrating the saints who have gone before us, many of whom lost their lives because of their faith, and commemorating the lives and passing of people closer to us, loved ones, […]

Who do you wish you were? And, why?

posted by mpratt

Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween, it’s hard to miss the identity changes that take place all around us (especially in Southern California). Adults become children, children become their favorite super-heroes. People open their doors to perfect strangers – and […]

Updating worn-out shoes

posted by mpratt

One of my most comfortable pair of shoes is just about worn out. This particular pair has been my go-to-when-I’m-out-and-about shoe for several years, and it’s been greatly helpful in terms of cushioning my steps and keeping me from experiencing […]

Finding Fitness Feats that Fit

posted by mpratt

Ah, exercise! Love it or hate it, most of us have heard our doctors tell us that it’s vital to overall wellbeing, not to mention our particular illnesses and/or pain.  But for many, that’s not exactly total motivation; that is, […]

Run, Run and then Collapse?

posted by mpratt

Today is the “day after.” And I’m preparing this blog in advance because I know exactly how I’m going to feel: Exhausted! I was asked to give a talk at a major medical center, and eagerly accepted the invitation. God […]

Science, Frogs, and Faith

posted by mpratt

I had such a good time on my interview on Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air with Sean Herriott” yesterday that I thought you might enjoy hearing the interview, too. What’s it about? Science, Frogs, and Faith! Click on the link and […]

Rooting for Team You!

posted by mpratt

This is a sports-centric time of year. College and professional football, the baseball World Series, end-of-season tennis tournaments and, soon, college and pro basketball. We could go hoarse cheering on our favorites! Of course, as with any socially-prominent trend, I […]

What If God Says, “No?”

posted by mpratt

For the past several weeks, Sundays have been the only days when I can truly rest. The rest of the days of these weeks have been jammed with doctor’s appointments, other responsibilities, and increasingly crushing fatigue. So, I’ve been observing […]

Our Time with God

posted by mpratt

If you knew that you were going to spend long days with a beloved friend, how would you want to pass the time? What sorts of things would you plan to do? Lots of outings, going to see the sights […]

Soft, but Strong

posted by mpratt

It was a day like any other – except I was having a terrible flare and could barely move. I had all of my meds, food, water, a book I could barely read because holding it hurt. But, what I […]

After Cancer, Then What?

posted by mpratt

Today, there is great hope for many people diagnosed with cancer. There are more survivors than ever before, thanks to early diagnostics and better and more effective treatments. We still have a long way to go, but ongoing commitments of […]

Brain fog and list-less?

posted by mpratt

Brain fog is one of the key maladies that can really frustrate, confound, and seriously crimp a day’s activities – it truly can feel as if the whole world around is shrouded in thick fog, making it hard to figure […]

Your Journey, Your Gift

posted by mpratt

Often, I hear people with serious chronic illness tell me that they feel so alone, so lost, and they don’t feel as if they have anything to give others. Illness has stripped them of their past careers, relationships, and even […]

How Do You Tell A Child that Mommy or Daddy Is Sick?

posted by mpratt

One of the most difficult things a parent will ever tell a child is that he or she, Mommy or Daddy, is sick. And not just “I have a cold” sick, but rather, “I am very sick.” Perhaps, at first, […]

When the Storms Don’t Come

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard that it is a particularly quiet hurricane season this year. There is a storm in the gulf (Tropical Storm Karen, I believe), that might cause substantial damage. But there has been nothing like last year’s catastrophe along the […]

On Harmony and Home

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness can truly affect dynamics at home. If a child is ill, other siblings might resent the attention that parents have to give to him or her. If a parent is ill, the other parent might have to do […]

Chronic Illness: Less Balance, Less Stress?

posted by mpratt

I wish I could remember where I heard it (lupus brain fog kicking in here), and if I ever do, I’ll be sure to give credit where it’s due…(and if you know where you heard, it please let me know!), […]

Chronic Pain: Own It, Then Put It in Perspective

posted by mpratt

Oh, how we wish we could just throw it away! Pains great and small, banish them to outer space and never take them back again. Yes, how we wish…but then, there’s how we feel and how we live. Pain still […]

Chronic Illness: The Next Generation

posted by mpratt

One of the most significant ways that our life with illness affects others is in providing guidance and influence over the next generation of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I didn’t consider this […]

Chronic Illness: When the Same Old Gets Old

posted by mpratt

Living and coping with a long-term illness often calls for establishing a routine. Meds have to be taken at certain times and with or without food or in certain combinations.  Symptoms need close monitoring. So much sleep. So much exercise. […]

Chronic Illness: Dare to Be You!

posted by mpratt

Most of us who live with chronic illness become very creative when it comes to coping. Perhaps we have an “alter ego,” in the shape of a stuffed teddy bear or other inanimate object, and vent our frustrations on it […]

On the Inside Looking Out

posted by mpratt

Just as churches seem to be placing even greater emphasis on “community,” I and many of my fellow chronic illness and pain sufferers are gearing up and going inside before colder weather and cold and flu season. Indeed, for some […]

The Essence of Coping with Chronic Illness Is a Strong and Willing Spirit

posted by mpratt

Do not stifle the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 I cannot count the times that this simple sentence has resonated in my head and heart.  As we all know, life with chronic pain and illness can be wearing, tearing down our […]

What Season Are You In?

posted by mpratt

After nearly 15 years with lupus, I’ve come to realize that the journey with the disease moves along much like the seasons of the year. Spring, full of energy and promise and new things, is much like the early days […]

Chronic Illness: Sometimes It’s the Little Things…

posted by mpratt

Paper cuts, ear wax build up, a common cold, a brief bump against a table that bruises a leg. For many people, these things are inconveniences that pass quickly. Oh, but we who have chronic illness most probably know differently. […]

The Value of Being Put on Hold

posted by mpratt

If we took all of the minutes and hours that we’ve spent on hold, waiting to talk to someone on the telephone, waiting for test results, waiting for appointments in the doctor’s office…and we received even $.25 per minute, imagine […]

Ahead of the Holidays

posted by mpratt

Are you ready, yet? No, not for this weekend. Not for the rest of this month. Are you ready for the holidays? As I type this, my fatigue level is 100 on a scale of 1-10. And just as my […]

Inspiration for the Underdog

posted by mpratt

So often, when we’re battling symptoms or snags in our healthcare, or just having a bad day, we feel as if life is stacked up against us. Yes, we feel like the underdog, not favored to win or even, perhaps, […]

Chronic Illness: What Is Your Vocation?

posted by mpratt

)n this Labor Day weekend, as we relax and unwind, we might inevitably think about the work that we do and wonder what in the world it has to do with our overall, spiritual purpose in life. This might be […]

Rest for the Weary

posted by mpratt

I met up with a neighbor recently. I hardly ever see her because she’s always working. But on this day, she was dressed casually, carrying a department store shopping bag, and wearing a cautiously cheery smile. “Off today?’ I asked […]

Say What?

posted by mpratt

A kind mouth multiplies friends, and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings. Sirach 6:5 Some days, nothing seems to go right. More symptoms. More pain. Insurance snags. Money troubles. The roof leaks. The dog runs away.  No one answers your calls. […]

National Dog Day

posted by mpratt

August 26 has been named “National Dog Day,” and it’s a fine time to remember all the wonderful ways our furry friends enhance our lives, whether we have chronic pain and illness or not. I’ve known some remarkable dogs. There […]

Your Name In Illness and Pain

posted by mpratt

I’d just come from the dreaded fasting bloodwork and was standing in line at the local coffee shop. As people put in their orders and gave their names to the order taker, I marvelled at how exotic some of them […]

Are You Ever Sorry?

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness and pain are, well, pains to live with.  There are times when we’re angry, snappish, out of sorts. Sometimes, even if we’re at a happy celebration, our conditions can get in the way of feeling completely integrated into […]

Chronic Illness: A Special Home

posted by mpratt

With all the talk swirling around today about the housing and real estate market, I’ve been thinking a lot about what “home” means. For some, of course, it is considered an investment to be flipped at the swiftest and greatest […]

Supersizing Our Lives

posted by mpratt

On a walk recently, I passed by a recently-renovated neighorhood fast food restaurant. Emblazoned on the roof was a banner that invited all to try “our double drive-thru!” A “double drive-thru?” Hmm… Do we order in two parts? Order side-by-side […]

At the Whim of the Weather…Or Not

posted by mpratt

Periodically, I’ve delved into research about whether the weather affects people’s health. Some arthritis sufferers, for example, insist that their condition worsens as rain approaches, and some who suffer from depression often report that their mood is darker when the […]

See Jesus

posted by mpratt

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:16:21, we read about the storm on the sea. The disciples were out on the sea in a boat, and a terrible storm blew up. We read, “When they had rowed about three or […]

Is It Hard to Read the Signs?

posted by mpratt

One day, I noticed these signs on a street in a quiet residential neighborhood where, most days, little traffic flows. I couldnt’ resist taking a picture – such a complicated set of do’s and don’t’s when, I’d imagine, simplicity would […]

You Are Brave!

posted by mpratt

You might not have rushed into a burning building, or swam out to rescue someone drowning in choppy surf. But you have gone into the proverbial lion’s den – and you are brave! You live with chronic illness daily, pain […]

Can We Control Others’ Attitudes Toward Us?

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I lost many friends. Some simply did not undertand what chronic illness was all about, assumed I’d “get better” as soon as I was under a doctor’s care, and became impatient when the months stretched […]

Don’t Let Anyone Ruin Your Good Day!

posted by mpratt

We have all encountered the wet blanket. The person who seems to revel in stopping our good mood, or our good day, in its tracks. Perhaps the conversation goes something like this: “The sky is blue! Isn’t it lovely?” “See […]

Tempering Temper

posted by mpratt

When we’re angry, do we automatically feel we’re justified simply because we feel the anger? Or, could there be other reasons about which we might have some control? As summer heat matures, pressing down more harshly on certain parts of the […]

What Do You Let Go Of?

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness can lead to major changes in our lives, especially in our bodies. Weight gain or loss, skin tone alterations, hair loss or over-furry growth – these and other things can occur along the way and we have to […]

Illness on the Road Part Three

posted by mpratt

Home! Usually, at some point late in a vacation, your thoughts turn back to home. In some cases, you are having such a good time away that the thought of returning there is unpleasant. But often, we look forward to […]

What I Am Learning from Pope Francis

posted by mpratt

As I type this, I am watching the coverage from Rio, where Pope Francis is participating in the 28th World Youth Day. With amazing stamina and overt joy, the Holy Father seems to be throwing himself into all of his […]

Illness on the Road Part Two

posted by mpratt

You’ve arrived! You made it through the lines and long hours of travel, and now you’ve arrived at your vacation destination. How are you feeling? Exhausted? Good? Or, a combination of the two? Or, something else? When we take our […]

Illness on the Road Part One

posted by mpratt

Vacations can be relaxing, rejuvenating, exciting, and wonderful. But when you have a chronic illness, well, vacations can be something else entirely. As much as we wish it weren’t so, chronic illness doesn’t take a vacation. No matter how many […]

Too Soon? Too Late?

posted by mpratt

In the aftermath of life crises, loss, or a new diagnosis, people often tell us “take your time.” Indeed, we need time to digest what has happened and how it will affect our lives going forward. But we might also […]

“Have a great day!”

posted by mpratt

So, with three major life crises occurring within days of each other, and these having followed on the heels of a major lupus flare and significant medicine changes, I have a totally new perspective on that familiar throw-away line, “Have […]

Controlling the Uncontrollable

posted by mpratt

Ah! If only we could control our illness and pain! At least then we might be able to pick and choose the times and days when these awful challenges could stay in the background, corralled, quieted. But, unfortunately, much like […]

Living the Life of Job?

posted by mpratt

Perhaps one of the reasons so many of us with chronic illnes identify with the biblical tale of Job is that we have (or are) lived it (living it). Recent time has certainly been like that for me, not just […]

Chronic Illness: Letting Light Shine on Illness

posted by mpratt

When Moses parted the Red Sea and when Jesus walked the earth, people with illnesses were ostracized and thought to have something fundamentally, morally wrong with them. Consider the lepers, the blind, or those women who, for perhaps health-related reasons, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Go, Team!

posted by mpratt

We who live with chronic illness and pain are athletes in more ways than one. And rather than isolated athletes, running a solo race, we are actually part of a team that takes in ourselves, our loved ones, our doctors […]

Chronic Pain & Illness: Respect and Appreciation for the “Lowly”

posted by mpratt

Now more than ever, I realize how important it is to appreciate everyone who participates in our healthcare. Not only our doctors, but those who provide essential services that we sometimes overlook. In fact, it is the seemingly “least significant” of those people […]

Lupus: Coping Skills 4 and 5

posted by mpratt

How quickly May went by! Lupus Awareness Month is nearly over. Not so, unfortunately, the disease itself. No, it’ll be with us for quite some time, and thus my fourth and fifth “Lupus Coping Skills”: Adaptability and Creativity. These might […]

Live Long – Prepare Now

posted by mpratt

Over Memorial Day weekend, many of us catch up with family and friends. Invariably, we hear of (or meet up with) people who are in their supposedly “old” age, but who have enough energy and strength still to work, keep […]

Thank You to All Who Have Served and Who Serve Today

posted by mpratt

Your strength, courage, sacrifices, and determination shine through – and your service is deeply appreciated. Thank you to all who have served and who serve today – your willingness to face the bad days allows us to experience the good […]

Chronic Illness: Setting Boundaries or Building a Wall?

posted by mpratt

Fatigue is one of the most difficult things to cope with when living with chronic illness or pain. It can make even the most mundane activities seem impossible, and sometimes it can come on so suddenly that it stops you […]

Moore, Oklahoma, and Beyond

posted by mpratt

As many of us watched in real-time as the two-mile-wide behemoth of a tornado bore down on Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday, I was reminded of another night many years ago when I, a small child, my brother and parents hunkered down […]

Chronic Illness: What Do You Do with the Fatigue?

posted by mpratt

Premission to sleep! Chronic illness, whether lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, or another culprit, can bring on fatigue. Not just the “normal” kind brought on by a busy night or day, or strenuous exercise. No, our fatigue is usually called “unrestorative,” that […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 3

posted by mpratt

The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?                  Proverbs 18:14, New Living Translation These few words from Proverbs say it all about the importance of a strong spirit when […]

Struggling to Have a Good Day?

posted by mpratt

Everybody’s happy! Everybody’s active! Everybody’s…NOT! When you don’t feel well, the struggle to make something, anything, good of a day can be exhausting and frustrating and, well, quite frankly, impossible. And yet, between those who say, “You have to have […]

Lupus: Relationships and Us

posted by mpratt

Last week, some friends of mine participated in a lupus event, and they invited me to come with them. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see their caring in action. Truly, the benefit of being enveloped by […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 2

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I found it extremely helpful to immediately organize all the information, appointments, and other things pertaining to life with the diagnosis. That, then, was my “Coping Skill # 1.” Next, I set about finding […]

Lupus: Getting Involved in Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

Before this Lupus Awareness Month gets too far underway, I wanted to highlight a few activities that will be taking place to educate, encourage, and raise funds for research. I realize that budgets can get stretched and energy sapped easily […]

Lupus Coping Skill: Number 1

posted by mpratt

When you are diagnosed with lupus, you have to absorb a lot of information in a brief period of time. Lupus is a very complex disease; even if your case is mild and you do not have to take any […]

Lupus: First Symptoms

posted by mpratt

The first significant symptom that I had that indicated something was seriously wrong was that my hair began coming out of my scalp in thick, cylindrical clumps, leaving behind smooth, round bald patches from which no further hair would grow. […]

Lupus Awareness Month: For Starters

posted by mpratt

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and during this time, I’ll be blogging frequently about aspects of the disease, living with it, and coping with it. I realize my personal experience is unique; each person with lupus has his or her […]

Chronic Illness: Determined Adaptation

posted by mpratt

Never say “give up!” That’s one of my mottos for life with lupus. The flare that was stirred up after I had to go off one of my lupus meds has also made me extremely sun- and fluorescent light sensitive, […]

Chronic Illness: Riding Along

posted by mpratt

Several weeks ago, I learned that one of my lupus medications had begun to damage my retinas. I had to stop that medication immediately, but the hope was that I’d have some protection from it for up to a year, […]

Chronic Pain: Feeding the Soul

posted by mpratt

We all have our favorite comfort foods. For some, simple bread or a cup of herbal tea soothes. For others, a hearty, full-course, down home dinner does the trick. I keep chocolate handy, and also, of all things, relish (pardon […]

Chronic Illness: Find Your Spark Again!

posted by mpratt

Inside each of us, there is a light. But somedays, it seems as if that light has burnt out. When that happens in our homes or offices, we buy another and replace the old with the new. It’s not quite the […]

Boston Then and Now: When Life Changes in an Instant

posted by mpratt

Everyone who ran, everyone who watched, indeed everyone who has heard of what happened in Boston on Monday will never forget. And those who were injured – emotionally or physically – will carry images, emotions, and perhaps physical reminders of […]

Chronic Illness: Taking Charge

posted by mpratt

The first book about chronic illness that I wrote, with rheumatologist David Hallegua, MD, was called “Taking Charge of Lupus: How to Manage the Disease and Make the Most of Your Life.” This was not the book’s original title; I’d […]

Chronic Illness: When the Future Is Unclear

posted by mpratt

When you’ve lived through the sharp flares and relative calms of chronic illness, you begin to understand that nothing is guaranteed. As I’ve experienced recently, sometimes the medications we take to keep some symptoms under control suddenly stop working or […]

Chronic Pain, Depression, and the Suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s Son, Matthew

posted by mpratt

I am not an expert on depression. Lupus can cause it, or a lupus patient can certainly become depressed. But depression is not one of the conditions from which I have suffered throughout my life with serious illness. However, I […]

Chronic Illness: Finding “Peace in the Storm”

posted by mpratt

My book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness” will celebrate 8 years in print this month! It’s been wonderful to see the book still find its audience: those who live with chronic pain and illness and […]

Chronic Pain: Easter Bunnies and Everyday Rabbits

posted by mpratt

I still enjoy the glow from a very good Easter. Good liturgies, good lessons, good weather, good fellowship, good food. Yup, it was all good. And it has truly put a smile in my heart, even two days removed from […]

Even with Pain, Even with Illness, Alleluia!

posted by mpratt

Holiday celebrations can sometimes be forced affairs. A date on a calendar is hardly reason of itself to raise spirits and feel emotions that the holiday evokes. Living with a serious illness or debilitating pain can certainly overshadow any “happy” […]

Chronic Pain: Good Friday and The Longest Walk

posted by mpratt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Equ0RIiulOA There is a gospel song that resonates through my spirit on Good Friday. Simply named, “Calvary,” (I’ve linked one version of it that I found on YouTube, sung by Jami Jackson at the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn)  a traditional, […]

Chronic Illness: Our Bread and Wine

posted by mpratt

Sharing a meal with friends is a wonderful way to build fellowship, feel part of a social circle, and live wonderful occasions of love and care. For some, however, eating poses certain problems that might be mechanical (an esophagus that […]

Moments of “Holy” in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Lent is almost over, and soon we will be raising our voices to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and a renewed sense of faith and optimism. In these last days of Lent 2013, I find myself doubling up […]

Palm Sunday for Us

posted by mpratt

In the Catholic Church, Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, and the gospel reading is about the Lord’s arrest, crucifixion and death on the cross. It is hard to hear about how Jesus suffered, and even harder to imagine someone […]

Chronic Pain and Downward Dog: Yoga in All of Us

posted by mpratt

So, I was rounding a corner to home after a morning of errands. My head was full of the rest of the day’s “to do” list. I was hurting, and the idea of a nap did flit through my head. But […]

Chronic Illness: Bathing Suit Season and Us

posted by mpratt

I saw it the other day. Had to blink and clear my eyes to make sure I’d seen correctly. Yup. It was there. Plain as these springtime-lengthened days. What was it? An advertisement for bathing suits. What is a lupus […]

Chronic Illness: We May Be Suffering, We May Be Down, But We Are Strong!

posted by mpratt

Throughout history, the suffering patient has had an uneasy role in society. In biblical times, lepers, the blind, the lame, and other ill or physically challenged people were often ostracized and thought to be or inhabited by evil. Moving toward […]

Chronic Pain: Bad Day, Bad Mood, Better Response

posted by mpratt

We’ve all done it – and probably felt even worse afterward. Done what? Taken out our frustration and anger about our pain on ourselves or someone else. The physical weight of the pain coupled with the ever-growing sense of being […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: What Does It Take for You to Bloom?

posted by mpratt

Today, the African violet leaves that I planted back in June of 2012 are bearing beautiful blooms! Not just ones and twos, but many of the plantlets have grown and are putting forth colorful flowers. The splashes of magenta, purple, […]

Chronic Illness: Worried?

posted by mpratt

I’m embarking on a new leg of my journey with lupus, after learning that one of the medications I’ve been taking for a long while is causing damage to my retinas. The next year will be, to say the least, […]

Chronic Illness: When We Don’t Know What’s to Come

posted by mpratt

Yesterday was a tough doctor day for me. I had to have retests of my retinas for a problem that may or may not be related to one of the medications I take to treat lupus and keep it (moderately) […]

Chronic Pain: Why Isn’t Everyone Cured?

posted by mpratt

When I heard the news story today about the Mississippi child who was born with HIV and now, 2 1/2 years later, seems to be cured, I was very happy for researchers and others who have been working in the […]

Chronic Illness: How to Handle the Snowball

posted by mpratt

Whenever someone visits or lives in a place where snow has recently fallen, I ask them to “throw a snowball for me.” It was one of my favorite things to do, when I lived in blizzard-prone places, and I still […]

Heart Health: Great Things!

posted by mpratt

I am constantly amazed by the great strides researchers in all aspects of medicine are making to identify, diagnose and treat heart problems. From ethical research focused on using an adult’s own cardiac stem cells to regenerate heart tissue that […]

Chronic Illness: What Is ‘Successful’ Prayer?

posted by mpratt

We do live in a competitive, success-driven society!  I once heard someone say that she had prayed for a cure for her kidney-involved lupus and her prayer was successful; she believed she was cured completely, lupus-free, although her kidneys were […]

Lent 2013: The Grace in Pain

posted by mpratt

So far, this has been a more painful Lent than usual. Lung inflammation, joint pain – ah, lupus! The twinges, aches, and stabs sure make pain immediately present. And one of the things I’m trying to do when they occur […]

Chronic Illness: You Do Not Have to Do It All

posted by mpratt

Calling all multi-tasking, over-stressed, well-intentioned people with chronic illness! (and I mean myself, too): You do not have to do it all. Not even if the nicest person from church calls you to ask you a “favor” because he/she knows […]

Chronic Illness: Taking Our Time

posted by mpratt

In one of my first blogs, I shared a picture of an African violet that I grew from a single leaf. It had just bloomed for the first time, only a few months after the leaf cutting was taken. That […]

Chronic Illness: Not Impolite, Just Prudent

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, moving about in public resembles running a gauntlet of things unhealthful. Smokers. Angry drivers. Sick people sneezing and coughing freely. Dodging these perils can be nearly impossible – but imperative, if we with chronic illness want to keep our […]

Chronic Illness: Retiring the Blame Game

posted by mpratt

“I got this from my father’s side.” “She couldn’t have gotten it from my side of the family.” “I shouldn’t have smoked three packs a day. “If only I’d exercised more, this would have never happened.” The blame game abounds […]

Chronic Illness: Wearing Our Pain

posted by mpratt

Ash Wednesday always seems like a contradiction to me. On the one hand, as a Christian, joyful in the spirit, I appreciate and honor Our Lord’s words of wisdom: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They […]

Chronic Illness: Steering the ‘Type A’ in All of Us

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard many lupus patients say, over the course of time in which I’ve spoken with patient groups, that many of us were and still are “Type A” personalities. The ones who did it all. The ones who would take […]

Chronic Illness: How Can We Ever Plan Ahead?!

posted by mpratt

Sound familiar? You plan to do something, having been planning for weeks. And then…Here it comes again. Wham! Fatigue like a brick squashing a tiny bug. And no matter how much encouragement others might try to give, all those plans are […]

Heart Health: Are We Obsessing Over Obesity?

posted by mpratt

During each of my conversations with experts on heart health, I hear a common refrain: The risk factors for heart disease are improper diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity. This last factor has also been in the news frequently; according […]

Tips for Coping with a Loved One’s Long-Distance Health Crisis

posted by mpratt

The first day of February started off as a good day for me. Full of energy, lots of plans. A completely unexpected phone call in the midst of it changed that; my father was hospitalized with heart problems. The irony […]

Heart Health: Who, Us?!

posted by mpratt

I was diagnosed with cardio-vascular problems in my 30s. A friend of mine had her first heart attack in her 50s. Another person I know had one in his 40s. Truly, heart disease is not something only “old” people get. Even […]

Heart Health Month for Everyone!

posted by mpratt

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: […]

Permission to Sleep

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Prejudice – To Those Who Are Annoyed or Put Off

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Prejudice – and How We Cope

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Word Play: How Do You Say ‘Comfort?’

posted by mpratt

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! […]

Resolutions: Week Three, Forgiving and Forgetting

posted by mpratt

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 […]

For Inspiration – Look to the ‘Geezers’ of Tennis!

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Birthday coming up? Don’t worry, be you!

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet? Think of the Environment!

posted by mpratt

  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 […]

Feel Like You’re Failing Because of Your Pain or Illness?

posted by mpratt

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 […]

On Pain and Purposeful Laughter

posted by mpratt

 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. […]

Inspiration All Around

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Epiphany: See the Star!

posted by mpratt

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 […]

A Bumpy Start Doesn’t Have to Mean a Bad New Year Is Ahead

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Prayer for a New Year

posted by mpratt

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. […]

Up Ahead: A New Year!

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Glory to God in the Highest!

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Is Your Family Broken?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Does Your Timing Seem Off?

posted by mpratt

  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 2012: Are Your Plans Falling Apart?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: What Do You Really Want?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: What’s Stirring Within?

posted by mpratt

  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 2012: Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays?

posted by mpratt

  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 2012: A Week Away, a World Away?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Have You Noticed?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: What Do You Love Most about These Days?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Feeling a Chill?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Have You Found Your Voice?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: What about You?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Are You in a Drought?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: What Is Your Light?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Are You Afraid to Say “Yes”?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: How Far Have We Come?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Word Play: How Do You Say, “Merry?”

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Do You Hear What I Hear?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Are You on Hold?

posted by mpratt

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 2012: Are We There, Yet?

posted by mpratt

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 […]

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During these very hot days of August, I decided to try something different to keep myself sun-protected, but a bit cooler than when I wear wigs under my broad-brimmed hats. I purchased a long and sheer scarf, folded it into a triangle, tied the ...

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