Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

How do you grow a good life?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicSo 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 comfort in. Cherished activities, relationships, meaningful work. And it can be really tough to see anything as good in the future, especially life in general, one’s own life in particular.

But do we really “have” a life? Even if we are in good health? Or, would it help to look at life a little differently?

As a writer, I know that none of my work, be it articles, books, or this blog, will get written unless I put the pieces together one word at a time. In this sense, I don’t “have” a written product at all, but rather I “grow” it from all of the pieces that I bring together in it. Words, yes, and thought, perspective, information – there are all sorts of “seeds” that I plant on the page in order to have, one day, a fully-grown authored work.

So it is, I have found, with life with chronic illness and pain. There’s nothing easy about these days and nights when health concerns are foremost, seeming to hold us back and down from what we really want to have and do. But, if we look at our lives as works-in-progress where we “seed” our time with good things, we can see that, in order to enjoy a good life, one that brings at least some satisfaction, light, and joy, we need to work at it seed-by-seed.

The things we do today will impact how well we are able to cope, relate, and benefit from the good seeds we’ve planted.   A grand thought to take to heart, especially as so much of the rest of our lives is out of our control, as it is with chronic illness.

Wonderful friendships aren’t “had” as if they can be bought off the shelf. Fitness, education, faith, the very essence of who we are as God’s children – each of these, too, is built, grown, and strengthened by each step we take.

How do we grow good lives?

One blessed seed at a time!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

All Saints…All Souls

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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, people who have been important in our lives. And, once again, it is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – especially touching for me, as my father, who passed away recently, had this disease.

But juxtaposed with this are words from Pope Francis I, who was just installed as pope this year. During his Easter messages, he repeatedly emphasized a verse from Luke’s gospel in the passage about the Resurrection of Jesus: When the women arrived at the tomb, they did not find Jesus, as they had been expecting. Two men appeared and said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” (Luke 24:4).

Indeed, as we consider the people who have blazed trails for us, gone before us in faith, and influenced our lives, we are not doing ourselves, our faith, or this life justice if we stop there, become weighed down by grief and melancholy. No, we move ahead and take on the great joy and responsibility of seeking Jesus among the living, of striving to emulate the excellence of the saints, of selecting the best of those we know who are no long with us and trying to be better each day, discovering new wonders and ways of God as we do.

Yes, we among the living – live!

Moving into this month of raising awareness and education about Alzheimer’s disease, I’m going to focus especially on actions, activities, and encouragement for people who are living now with ALZ, or those who are caregivers. There are many new programs, support and respite opportunities, and other  things that can be done while the ALZ community “waits for the cure.”  It is much like remembering the past while moving ahead for the better.

And, it fits.

sings for the day,

Maureen

 

Who do you wish you were? And, why?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicEven 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 give them treats. Even animals get into the act (tho, perhaps, not voluntarily) with glitzy costumes.

So, with all of this on display, it naturally brings up a question: Who do you wish you were? And, why?

Do you wish you were the supermodel on the magazine cover? Or the brave firefighter, saving lives? Do you wish you could fly? Run a marathon?  Be one of those following Jesus when he walked on earth?

As adults, especially if Halloween isn’t on your list of holidays, it might seem silly or even slightly daft to express the “I wish I were…” within. After all, reality is reality. I cannot change being a lupus patient, for example, nor can I suddenly do away with all of my limitations. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire others for certain qualities and actions. Yes, admire and wish and then…

Often, the person we wish we were holds that place in our thoughts because we wish to emulate certain qualities that they have, good or amazing characteristics of lives that we admire.  That wish to “be like,” in its most noble form, is not silly or daft. It is, actually something that can help make us even more fully realized as people and Children of God. Yes, the good qualities in other people: the beauty they project (inside and out), the helpful things they do, the kindness they exhibit – all of these things are very valid for us to strive for, too.

Perhaps we cannot change our names, or completely alter who we are, and what we do. But this time of year reminds me that there are qualities that reside in others that I’d hope someday to develop in myself.

Striving to be better – and learning how to do that from others who are farther along their journey than I am. Yes, that’s who. And that’s why.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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 worse pain on the days when I’ve had errands, doc appointments, and other outings. But, alas, the soles are just beginning to crack, and the soft insides are not quite so soft anymore.  I’ll have to find another pair to replace them, and I know it won’t be easy. But, sigh, necessary.

Which gets me to thinking about changing old habits to new. Old habits, even if they’re not the most healthful, are like our favorite pair of go-to shoes. We don’t have to think, extend our efforts, or look far – there they are. And, at first, these old habits might seem great. Or, at least, enjoyable. Until they start to unravel, wear thin, hurt at bit – and then more.  Usually there comes a point when we know we have to change. But old habits are hard to break unless…

Unless we think about the good things that are in store as we switch from those old clunkers to new, more supportive “shoes.” Then, we can begin to understand the benefits of moving beyond something rote and routine. And then, we can take that understanding and forge a new “habit” that will help us be stronger, healthier, and able to move forward with a really great stride.

My old shoes are not exactly a bad habit. But I realize that, as I’ve sort of denied how worn they’ve become, I’ve not been able to truly see the reality of how less helpful they are. Until today, when I had to run a string of errands. Yup. Time to move on.

If you’re struggling with changing a bad habit, my prayes are with you as you move forward. God is with you each step – and you have more strength insde of you than you ever imagined!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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