Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

To Be Encouraged, Encourage Someone Else

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicTime and again, I’ve seen the amazing transformation in someone who is deeply suffering (whether with pain, illness, or other pressures), when they receive a kind, uplifting, or unexpectedly positive remark from someone else. Part of this is, I think, because kindness is fundamentally, well, kind, and the response to it is of like tenor.

But another reason is, I think, a bit more complicated. If you live with chronic illness or pain, you take that with you everywhere, and it has a habit of reflecting in gestures, words, or expressions. So, when you met someone who is similarly suffering, your pain joins with theirs, in a sense, and soon your interaction can become just one, big, glopping swirl of pain. But it need not be; just as pain ampilfies pain, so too can kindness or an extension of encouragement defuse it.

A simple way to test this is in conversation with a friend. Here’s the first version:

“How are you?”

“Horrible. And life is just getting harder.”

“Oh, I know what you mean. I can’t believe the way my stress is just getting worse.”

“Yeah, and there’s no end in sight.”

“No. None.”

Heavens, it makes me feel weighed down just be typing it! Now, here’s the second version:

“How are you?”

“Oh, the pain is terrible. But I’m glad you called.”

“I’m happy to hear that. I didn’t know if I’d be disturbing you, or if you were resting.”

“I was, but that’s okay. It’s always nice to hear from you.”

“Well, I was thinking of you. I really respect how you cope.”

“Thanks! It isn’t easy, but friends make it easier. ”

See how, right away, the caller and the called are acknowledging pain, but they also find a ray of encouragement for each other.  A caring friend. An appreciative patient.

Yes, it can be as simple as that, and it can work with strangers, too. Smiling, holding the elevator,  slowing down for someone who is moving more slowly than you are – these and other things are subtle but powerful ways of encouraging someone else. And in so doing, you can be encouraged that you’re living out your Christian walk and, perhaps, giving someone else the spark they need to ignite within them renewed hope.

Despite our pain and other health challenges, the more we seek to encourage others, the more we ourselves will be encouraged. We might not be able to banish our physical problems, but we can certainly lighten the load on our [emotional] hearts!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

 

Happy Independence Day!

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Independence Day – and Independence Day Weekend! I hope you enjoy your celebration, however you manage to commemorate the day.

This year, I have been reflecting on the concept of “independence” day, both for this country and for life with chronic illness.  I put the word in quotes because, actually, the history of the country, and life with chronic illness, are both build more on inter-dependence than independence. Each event in U.S. history has influenced the next event and the next. Each generation, however it wants to see itself as “new,” is part of the ongoing history of the country rather than a brand-new start.

And it’s this way with our lives with chronic illness and pain. Yes, each new day provides us with opportunities for “a new start,” or a “new” approach.” But, really, we are building upon what we did yesterday and the day before. We might try to change course at some point, but we’re still moving down the same river!

I like the idea of building on past successes, improving on the healthful things I’ve done previously, and looking to a future that’s strong because I’m doing strengthening things now to help it be so.

And I like the idea that, no matter how much strife there has been in our nation’s history, no matter how much conflict, the continuity has endured, and our nation takes all lessons from the past and incorporates them into the present and future.

So, again, Happy Independence Day! I pray that what you do today will build toward a brilliant tomorrow!

Thank you, Lord, for this country,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: History Matters

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicDuring this week of celebrating our nation’s independence, we hear a lot about the importance of history.  Learning about the past is one of my favorite things; from an early age, I have enjoyed reading historical topics, learning about people who lived years ago, and even visiting historic sites. I like writing about history, too, and using research and analytical skills to take raw facts and figures and turn them into compelling articles and other work.

History is anything but boring, at least to me. But it goes beyond distant events and people unrelated to me. It also goes to family history, even health history.

Yes, knowing as much about our forebears health as possible can be crucial in our own healthcare. It can give our doctors clues as to what to investigate if we present with odd symptoms, and it can help navigate the choppy waters through the diagnosis process.

Knowing family health history is beneficial for understanding why we have some of the illnesses or physical “quirks” that we do, and why we don’t. It can be very encouraging to know there is no particular genetic propensity for a particular disease, for example. Or, it can be important to know that something “runs in the family.”

The science of genetics is evolving; your doctor is the best expert to help you understand what might be relevant for you and what might not pertain to your situation. But the more you are able to understand about your family’s health history, the better prepared you will be to enter into that conversation.

Familial health history can inspire us to live well and attain those old ages some of our relatives have amazingly surpassed.  It can give us a deeper picture of where we come from.

It’s one of those precious nuggets of information that, when passed down through generations, will continue to clarify and inform us – and those who will come after us.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic illness: Nurturing Creativity

posted by mpratt

Streps for GDBDWhether it’s juggling the household budget so you can keep a roof over your head and maintain your medical needs, or it’s learning to live differently from “before illness,” and thrive, we who have chronic illness must often rely on our ability to be creative. To think “outside” the box. To adapt and change and still be true to our inner core and to what God wishes for us to be.

But creativity requires energy and persistence. Drive and determination. Trust and a childlike ability to play “what if” when pain and doubt seem all too commonplace.

Nurturing creativity becomes important, then. But, how?

Recently, I was amazed and delighted to discover that the unconventional things I’d done to get a particular plant to bloom in an unlikely place has worked. The plant, a stretocarpus, was one of those “can’t resist” purchases at a local African violet show. Someone told me it could be grown outdoors because of our climate, but someone else was skeptical. Yet another person said that they were difficult to get to bloom; they needed just the right soil and conditions. I read all I could about the plant, and decided to try growing it on my balcony in cactus soil. The picture here is proof that my “unconventional” way of growing the little beauty worked – and I’m really enjoying the results, borne of being just a little creative.

Here are some suggestions for nurturing your creative abilities so they enhance your life – stemming from (sorry for the pun) my experience growing the streptocarpus.

1) Do not believe “It cannot be done,” when it comes to living purposefully with chronic illness. If you get stuck on “cannot,” you’ll never get to “can.”  If I hadn’t dared try, I wouldn’t have a lovely plant blooming on my balcony.

2) Find a healthful way. Learn all you can about what you want to do with and in spite of illness. Talk to others who have gone before you. Find a way, a healthful way, to carry out your purpose. I learned what others had planted their streps in and found something that I thought might work under my conditions.

3) Be open to surprises. Setting up specific expectations only takes us so far in our life journey. But insisting that our spirits remain open to surprises enables us to reach beyond the concrete “steps and plans” we humanly set up for ourselves. I learned this as my little strep put out first one, then two, then three, and now four blossoms! Truly beyond my expectations.

4) Use positive prayer and affirmation. Ask God to encourage you, and be encouraging to yourself, too. Say, “I know I can find a way.” and “With God all things are possible.” Banish negative speak and criticism, unless it’s healthy, until your creativity has blossomed and you’re on your way – and then, soar!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Chronic Illness: How do you describe it, exactly?
Time often flies by when you're living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower time seems to move (just think of waiting for a med to kick in, for e

posted 8:25:10pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Managing the Munchies
I really, really, really like chocolate. Chocolate and almonds. Or, just chocolate. And yet, I know how bad it can be if I over-indulge. Extra weight on lupus-arthritic joints

posted 8:10:25pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual
I'm typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month's journey - again - to determine "once and for all" the reason why I don't hold onto iron. For years, I've dealt with iron levels that get lower and lower until, finally, I have to have an infusion. And, for years, the reason for this, or, rather

posted 7:44:26pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Scripture: Sometimes, I Have to Laugh
I once told someone that I find much humor in the Bible, that I even laughed sometimes, as I read it. She looked at me as if I'd spoken heresy, and mumbled, "I can't imagin

posted 7:30:34pm Jul. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Let's Hear It for Christmas in July!
I used to think that "Christmas in July" events were only commercial enterprises, destined to convince people to "shop now!" or "buy now!" But, this year, I'm embracing "Christmas in July" for what it truly can be - a reminder to kindle and care for the precious spirit of Christmas all year round, e

posted 7:22:12pm Jul. 14, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.