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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

A Praying Spirit: Praying through Advent

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Advent begins this weekend, and I am really looking forward to it!

In Advent, I always try to to do something different with my prayer life, or with my Scripture study. Often, these new approaches or practices carry forward into the Christmas Season and beyond. Nothing like trying something new to stir up a new spirit or strengthen that which is already present!

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It might seem like too much to take on a new approach to prayer or Bible study in the face of all the other things we have to do during this Season in preparation for Christmas. All that shopping, cooking, cleaning, traveling, gifting, and card-writing can be overwhelming.

That’s why this Advent, I’m going to focus on one, Spirit-inspired word a week. I hope to pray that word, get to know its deeper meanings, and see how it applies to my life. By taking this simpler focus, I hope to be able to grow more deeply in faith, and bring a fresh sense of quiet in all the extra noise that surrounds us.

So, today, with the First Week of Advent, my word will be: Grace

What does “Grace” mean to you? to your prayers? to your life? Where is it? How can you have more of it?

Yes, what does “Grace” mean…

Peace,

Maureen

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Happy Thanksgiving!

posted by mpratt

pic for website 2012There are so many things I am thankful for that I cannot list them all here (nor would you probably want to read them)! But, I would like to say that I am thankful for the many blessings that have come from my journey with lupus. People, places, experiences, and more grace than I ever thought possible have flowed from the days of “living with the wolf.” And God has been a marvelous (and patient) guide and friend throughout.

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It might be difficult today to be truly thankful. Pain, frustration, anger, a sense of loneliness – these and other feelings can well up inside of us at a time like this. But, please, find a way, however brief, to look for the good in your life, the treasures, and the blessings. They are there, though darkness, fatigue, and the sheer burden of illness might obscure them at first glance.

Today, I pray that you will find comfort with others, light from His love, and much to be truly thankful for. I will keep you in my prayers – and give thanks for you, too, with joy and abiding peace,

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Stretch Yourself!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicFeeling cramped? Confined? Constrained?

Feel like you’re boxed up in a little corner of an even littler space?

Times like this, you might want to think about stretching yourself!

Physically, with all the sitting we do at work and home, our muscles can get mighty tight. Neck muscles, shoulders, even calves. Gentle stretching is a wonderful way to give them some tlc – and help you stay mobile when you most want to be!

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But, besides physical stretching, there’s personal and spirtual stretching, too. Strike up a conversation with someone new at work. Take the long way home. Learn a few phrases of a language you don’t speak, or sign up for (and take) a class that’s always interested you. Read an author you’ve never heard of, or a Scripture passage that’s always confused you. Learn about another religion, one that you know nothing about.

These things might sound like work, but really they’re a way to reach beyond all that confinement and cramping that you feel.

Today, consider stretching yourself – gently and with curiosity. You never know where God might lead you!

Peace and joy,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: The Theory of Everything, Part One

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicMovies can be tremendous entertainment, taking us out of our ordinary lives into an extraordinary world of storytelling. But sometimes, movies strike so close to home that they set off a cascade of thoughts, feelings, and questions.

I recently say “The Theory of Everything,” the based-on-a-true-story movie about Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane. I suppose people who do not have a serious chronic illness might react differently to the movie, but those who do have challenging health problems probably will see a deep, and perhaps too-true, parallel with their own lives and how they relate to their loved ones.

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Stephen and Jane meet, fall in love, wed, and have a family. But throughout this journey, Stephen’s physical health deteriorates drastically because of ALS, “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” a neuromuscular condition. As Stephen’s condition gets worse, Jane’s love is tested as she juggles three children and her husband, making her own goal of a PhD seem out of reach, at least for a time.

I won’t give away the whole story. (Of course, those who know who Stephen Hawking is probably can guess or already know some or most of it.) But I will say that the tale of a couple challenged by illness, challenged to the very brink of breaking, is not an unfamiliar one to many of us who struggle with life-altering illness and pain. And, when it’s put up on the “big screen,” it can be very, very difficult to watch.

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The movie stirred up lively discussion. How long would you, could you stay with a loved one whose health is so bad that it consumes your life, as well as your loved one’s? Are marriage vows, in the face of catastrophic health, breakable? Does God intend for someone to devote his- or herself entirely and “til death” to their sick spouse, or are they “allowed” to leave the relationship when the going gets tough?

When is a promise a promise, when does it become something obsolete, and when is a commitment a cross we are meant to bear? After all, we who live with pain and illness do not have the luxury of tossing it aside when it becomes too inconvenient or painful, when our journey hits the really bad spots and death or greater longevity with more complications loom.

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As our society becomes more self-centered (as if it isn’t enough already!), and life at all stages of development or existence seems be become more disposible, the questions stirred up by “The Theory of Everything” will only become more strident, the answers to them only more telling of what we as a society have become and what we as Christians are challenged to do and be.

In my life with lupus, I have seen so very many relationships break apart because of the illness of one partner. I’ve experienced rifts and ruptures, too. But I also have been blessed with tremendous, loving friends and family. And I praise God for that! I praise Him, too, for the blessings found in the midst of suffering, especially that of God’s eternal, abiding presence. And I pray that those who love people with illness and pain will find meaning and blessings in their lives of hard work, commitment, and exhausting love.

To be continued next week

Joy and Peace,

Maureen

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