Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

When You Have to Relearn Basic Skills

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicEating. Walking. Breathing. These and other “basic skills” are second nature to many of us. Or, perhaps, not.

Sometimes, a chronic health condition requires us to relearn what we thought we already knew how to do. And it can be mighty frustrating, not to mention embarassing.

I remember when, after a long series of tests, I was diagnosed with several esophageal problems and had to work with a “swallow therapist.” Before then, I had no idea that such a specialist existed! I also could not imagine that I was “eating incorrectly.” Hadn’t I been eating – and swallowing – all of my life? What could be wrong?

Turned out, it wasn’t so much what was wrong, but what needed to be tweaked due to the developments brought about by my health problems. I had to learn new ways to approach eating because of them. It didn’t take a long time to do this, but as I “studied” and incorporated the very helpful suggestions give to me by the therapist, I realized how important it was that I relearned what I thought I already knew how to do. Not only did it enable me to adapt to my esophageal problems, it also gave me a lot of self-confidence and tools to take with me, back into my daily life.

Other people I know have benefited from physical therapy sessions, revisiting daily activities and learning to walk, lift, or move in ways that adapt to new physical problems and, thus, cause less discomfort or limitation. Speech therapists can help with vocal difficulties. Breathing specialists can help with lung function.

When a basic skill becomes problemmatic, it’s really important to keep in mind that we’re not “failing at life.” It’s just that sometimes, at various stages of our lives with chronic pain and illness, we’ll need to “tweak” or “retool” our approach. If there is something you used to be able to do easily, but are having problems doing now, I encourage you to see your doctor and talk it over with him or her.  We might not think we’ll ever have to learn to walk, talk, breath, or eat again, but sometimes we need a bit of expert help to enable us to journey on.  Far from being an indication of failure, taking these positive steps is a display of insight, courage, and determination!

Joy and peace,



TLC Tuesday: Flight of Fancy

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIt’s TLC Tuesday again! And between last week and this week, so many more problems have cropped up in our world and in our lives. Large and small, these troubles can stir up a lot of fear, angst, worry, and dread. Sometimes, you might think it would be so nice to just “get away from it all!” But would that be irresonsible? Naive? Childish?

Not at all!

We need to balance the “bad” with the “good” in our lives, and we need to make sure that we’re not overwhelmed by the challenges and pain we see and experience. Why? Because there is more to life than problems, and there is more to the world than darkness.

If you cannot physically remove yourself from your daily routine today, think of a way that you can journey, however briefly, to someplace that isn’t quite in the eye of the storm. Groom a pet. Walk through a garden. Revisit the pictures from a relaxing and wonderful vacation. Put your swirling, troublesome thoughts on hold for a few minutes and let them be replaced by somewhere other and blessed, someplace of peace, tranquility, and gentle strength.

I keep a kind of mental scrapbook of places and people that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and when times are difficult, I try to dust it off and leaf through it. By doing this, I remind myself that, although they might seem immediately onerous, “bad” days and times and problems do pass, and the “good” ones return! Yes, they do!

Joy and peace,


Food for Thought: The Hundred-Foot Journey

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Apolonia/

Photo courtesy of Apolonia/

Each Monday, I hope to highlight a book, movie, song, or other artistic work that has been a positive experience for me and, I hope, will be for you. Truly, when you live with all sorts of negative influences (pain, illness, stress, life challenges), the more solid, good, encouraging and inspiring things we can “feed” our spirits and minds with, the stronger we will be for our lives – and the greater the help for others.

Today, I’d like to offer thoughts on the moving, “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which has been playing successfully in large and small theaters throughout the US and, I believe, abroad.

The story of a family – and individuals in the family – putting their lives back together after tremendous tragedy in their home country, India, the movie focuses on two cultures – French and Indian – and two generations – traditional and “next” and, through the world of food and food preparation, shows how time, patience, willingness to understand, and humor all can combine to allow vastly different people from vastly different backgrounds come together, grow, and love.

The greatest inspiration was the tenacity of the story to show how it is possible to rise above horrible tragedy and even severe setbacks that occur afterward. At any point, the tale could have turned for the worse, but each character allowed a spark of hope to become determination, and that determination to bear new, strong, and very positive fruit.

Refreshing, well-acted, and beautiful to watch, this is a movie I’ll watch over again – and smile!

Joy and peace,


A Praying Spirit: How long, oh, Lord?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Franky242/

Image courtesy of Franky242/

How long is just right when it comes to prayer time? We have so many suggestions to choose from! Some of our friends might say they set aside a few minutes a day to pray, putting this time into their schedules as they would doctor’s appointments or other commitments. In Scripture, Paul writes about “constantly” thanking God (a form of prayer – 1 Tim 2:13), and the Psalmist says, “With y whole being I sing endless praises to you. O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.” (Psalm 30:13)

We know that God already knows the prayers in our hearts, the needs in our lives. He knows, too, what our intention is when we pray – that is, where our mind and heart is truly focused. And that, I think, is the point.

We can pray “constantly,” but not be intent upon furthering our relationship with God. We might be distracted, even as we tick off the needs on our prayer lists or the beads on our Rosary.

We can set aside five, ten, fifteen minutes “for prayer,” but be so tired or distracted by our worldly needs that we aren’t present or in the presence of God for even five, ten, or fifteen seconds.

For today, and in your prayer throughout the week ahead, concentrate on finding time, however long or short, when you know you’ll be alert, attentive, and focused on one thing: Talking with God.

The amount of time doesn’t really matter. But the quality of that time does!

Joy and peace,


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