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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: A Disability Doesn’t Equal Immaturity

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI was on a call the other day, trying to make sense of error messages spewed forth by my computer (I eventually learned that the hard drive had died…another story entirely!). The connection was really, really bad and the person in customer service was speaking very quickly and slurring words on top of it. So, I asked her to please slow down and indicated it was hard to hear what she was saying because of the bad connection.

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I’d already told her that I had a disability that made it difficult for me to lug my computer down to the “nearest” authorized dealer…

So, in response to my plea for slower and clearer speech, she began to “sing-song” her words and dumb down her language. As if I was hard of brain, as well as hard of hearing!

I immediately clarified.

“I might have a disability, but it doesn’t mean I’m feeble-minded. The problem is that the connection is bad and you’re speaking too quickly. Why don’t we hang up and start all over?”

She agreed to call  me back, did so, and we had a much clearer and more appropriate conversation.

You might have experienced this phenomenon, too. Whether your disability is visible or not, once you put it out there, some people might think it’s affecting your brain as well as your body. Which, well, there is lupus brain fog, and there are moments of exasperation…but…these are not permanent conditions and no reason to treat someone as if they were a child in an adult’s body.

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Always leaping forward into that “teachable moment,” I usually try to point these kinds of things out, as I did on this particular service call. Nicely, as much as possible, but clearly. It can be frustrating and energy-sapping to do so, but we’re all better off in the long run.

If you are not disabled, but come across someone who is, please check yourself if you find yourself speaking as to a child or a pet. And if you are disabled and are on the receiving end of said, well-meaning person’s speech, take a deep breath and then let the person know you’re perfectly able to handle whatever situation as an adult. I’m right there with you!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: Never Too Old

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the Christmas holidays, I was blessed to see Angela Lansbury in the play, “Blythe Spirit.” It was amazing – Dame Lansbury, a celebrated British-American actress whose career spans decades and includes television, film, and the stage, is 89 years old…or, I will say…young!

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The part Dame Lansbury plays, the colorful and eccentric Madame Arcati, is physically and mentally demanding, requiring agility, tough dialogue transitions (Madame Arcati digresses quite a bit!), and the whole performance was terrific. And utterly inspiring.

True, Dame Lansbury has been performing for most of her life, and she’s no stranger to the stage and its demands. But beyond the obvious and impressive fact that she performs the show 8 times a week, and splendidly, there is the  other fact that is really encouraging and uplifting – it was clear that Dame Lansbury thoroughly enjoys what she does!

It has to be hard to do what she does and to do it so well. I cannot imagine she gets through without some aches and pains. But when you love to do something, I imagine that those troubles don’t seem so grand and gratitude must wash away any discomfort.

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I came away from the play so very inspired that, when God gives gifts, He means for us to use them throughout our lives. Put another way, I can’t imagine telling God, “Okay. Enough. I’m retiring from serving you!”

Truly, when we do say “yes” to serving with our gifts, God will give us opportunities – no matter how old (or young) we are!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: Where Does Your Prayer Go?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIf you’re stuck when you pray, if you don’t think your prayers are being heard, you might be holding back, even if you think you’re pouring your heart out to God.

How can that be?

Sometimes, we desire something so very much, or we are so intent on praying for someone else that we forget to let our prayers go. We forget that we are lifting them up and out and right to God, settling them with him, and not taking them back into our troubled, worried lives. It’s only when we “pray out,” that is, when we put our hands and hearts firmly into God’s loving arms for good that we’ll be able to allow God to fill us with His answers to our dearest prayers.

So, if you’re stuck, think about where your prayer is going. And rejoice that God will replace your worries with His abundant love.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Recycling God’s Love

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It was shortly after January 1, and I was feeling frazzled after a long round of errands. Traffic was thick and so were the crowds inside the stores once I got into them. But perhaps most irritating were the old electrical gadgets and appliances clanging around in the trunk of my car.  I’d loaded them in there not realizing that the recycling center I usually go to would be closed until the 10th of January! I thought I could withstand a few days of the noise, but fatigue and endless errands had frayed my patience with the noise, so I decided I’d take a chance. I pulled into the parking lot of a national electronics store, stood in line at the Customer Service desk (yipes, more crowds and fatigue!), and, when my turn came, all but threw myself at the woman “manning” the desk.

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“Do you take old electronic?” I asked, mentally crossing every finger and toe.

“We sure do,” the woman replied, grinning as if I’d just told her she’d won a million dollars.

“CPUs? An old toaster oven? An old light? An old computer keyboard?”

“Yes!” she nodded.

Now, I felt as if I’d won a million dollars.

“I have them in my trunk, now,” I told her. “Can someone help me bring them in?”

“I’ll do it!” she replied.

Still grinning, the woman snagged a handcart and the two of us went out to my car, where I showed her the overflowing box that was taking up nearly my entire trunk.

“Oh, I’ll get it,” she said, insisting that she lift the box out herself. “You have a good day, now.”

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She started to wheel the cart toward the store, and I walked with her.

“I still have some shopping to do,” I told her, and we laughed about the irony of my recycling some things so I could get new ones.

Inside the store, I thanked her and said, “You really helped my New Year start out well.”

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “I’m happy to help.”

“Well, you’ve been great. I hope you have a truly blessed 2015,” I replied.

Her smile faded a little, and I could tell that she, too, was tired and, perhaps, had been having a difficult time, too.

“I’ll keep that,” she said, “and take it with me, too. Thank you so much.”

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She disappeared into the back of the store, and I went on to shopping, feeling very uplifted and realizing more than electronics had been recycled. From fatigue, frayed nerves, and other troubles, God’s light had shown through and more – His light was brighter, as if it, too, was recycled.

We never know when we’ll have the opportunity to meet a brother or sister in Christ and share a moment of God. Sometimes, it’s obvious, but sometimes, we have to make an unplanned stop at the end of a long and frustrating road – and there it is!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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