Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Clearing the air

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A recent rain brought crisp, clean air to Southern California. What a blessing! Before the deluge, it seemed as if there was a pall of dust over and around. Now, it’s a joy to breathe deeply and enjoy the outdoor air once more.

During this time of Lent, I’m reminded of what a blessing it is to clear the air with God, too. Throughout the rest of the year, we lift up problems, pain, anger, and other ‘baggage’ to Our Lord in prayer. Our relationship with the Lord can become mighty one-sided and stilted because of the way we communicate, emphasizing our problems and down-playing our praise.

But now, as we prepare for the ultimate celebration that is Easter, we take time to reflect upon our actions and thoughts of the year-gone-by. We pray for renewal. We pray for cleansing. We pray that the ‘air’ between us and God will be cleared once more, so that we may more fully enjoy our relationship with Our Creator and acquire more insight, wisdom, and courage to walk closely with Him in the days and months ahead.

How deeply we can breathe in God’s Spirit and love when we’ve cleared the air in prayer!

Blessings for the day – and Lent,

Maureen

It doesn’t matter when you bloom!

posted by mpratt

Christmas Cactus 3 6 2014Feeling like life is passing you by because you’re limited by illness and pain? Do you believe you’re too old to try something new, achieve a dream, or simply shine brightly as a beloved child of God because your health is bringing you down? I offer this little plant as inspiration: It’s a Christmas cactus in March, perched on a small bottom shelf out of any direct sunlight – and it’s full of buds!

Yes, my Christmas cactus is preparing to bloom – in Spring!

No matter if its timing is off, and apparently it doesn’t care if it’s not getting all the right sun and placement in order to bloom. In a couple of weeks, it will be full of beautiful, red blossoms anyway. And isn’t that encouraging for each of us?

No matter our age, what we suffer from, or how low we feel. No matter if we don’t have all the right conditions to feel like we can bloom. All of this cannot stand up to what God wants for us and how he wants us to shine anyway, bloom anyway – and show the world how wonderful He is all the time.

I wouldn’t think of moving my Christmas cactus or changing how I care for it. It’s doing just fine, even more than fine.

So, it doesn’t matter when you bloom, so long as you let God work and bring those blossoms out!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Happiness from the Outside, In

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic“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 for those of us living with chronic illnesses. How often have you said, “I just want to be happy,” while feeling the weight of pain, meds, and restrictions imposed by health challenges?  How often have you winced at someone saying, “Just have a positive attitude – that’ll make you feel better,” knowing that the energy it takes to muster up that ‘positive attitude’ isn’t in your proverbial emotional reservoir?

The quote above offers a clue to a more realistic look at happiness in our lives. Happiness, to the author, is not something isolated or attainable “as is.” Rather, it’s something we achieve by doing something else, by going after something else. That ‘something,’ if positive and productive, yields a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, satisfaction, and, yes, happiness.

But what to achieve? What to pursue? How can we possibly do something so monumental that it stirs happiness up from the ‘swamp’ of sadness, frustration, pain and other negative feelings swirling in our souls?

I don’t think it has to be anything huge or newsworthy. Nor does it have to be long-term. Those positive actions and pursuits can be as simple as doing one, small thing a day toward better health or seeking to do one, anonymous act of kindness. We can remember to celebrate the good things that happen in our world, however truncated, and we can look upon our prayer time as an oasis of calm and peace with God that then brings a warm glow – yes, happiness – to our fragile spirits.

Happiness from the inside, out? That’s a tough proposition. But happiness from the outside, in – that’s infinitely doable!
Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Up to the test

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThe 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 test patience, pain threshold, and, in the more concrete sense of the word, they subject us to medical tests that can be ordeals of their own – and painful, too!

As we journey on with our health burdens, it can be easy to say, “Lord, I can’t take any more. I really can’t.” But this is where faith – and wisdom come in like the lifelines that they are to reel us in and bring us back to what’s truly the center of our lives.

For all of the discomfort (I know, this is an understatement many times!) we experience, our souls are in fine shape. Our spirits are resilient. God, nestled in our hearts, is with us and carrying us along. And when we turn to Him, even in our deepest pain, He will bring us peace of spirit and comfort.

Many’s the time when meds and treatments did not take away my physical pain, but as I turned my life and health over to the Lord, the grace that I felt made all the physical much easier to deal with. And as it became easier, a peace beyond all other wrapped around me like a security blanket.

Could we endure our illnesses without faith? Without God?

Maybe we could withstand the physical pain. But with faith, with God, we are up to the test and more – we are able to reach beyond it and make our lives more meaningful, more purposeful, and more whole. And in that whole-ness, healing happens, healing that brings us close to God.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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