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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

TLC Tuesday: Flight of Fancy

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIt’s TLC Tuesday again! And between last week and this week, so many more problems have cropped up in our world and in our lives. Large and small, these troubles can stir up a lot of fear, angst, worry, and dread. Sometimes, you might think it would be so nice to just “get away from it all!” But would that be irresonsible? Naive? Childish?

Not at all!

We need to balance the “bad” with the “good” in our lives, and we need to make sure that we’re not overwhelmed by the challenges and pain we see and experience. Why? Because there is more to life than problems, and there is more to the world than darkness.

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If you cannot physically remove yourself from your daily routine today, think of a way that you can journey, however briefly, to someplace that isn’t quite in the eye of the storm. Groom a pet. Walk through a garden. Revisit the pictures from a relaxing and wonderful vacation. Put your swirling, troublesome thoughts on hold for a few minutes and let them be replaced by somewhere other and blessed, someplace of peace, tranquility, and gentle strength.

I keep a kind of mental scrapbook of places and people that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and when times are difficult, I try to dust it off and leaf through it. By doing this, I remind myself that, although they might seem immediately onerous, “bad” days and times and problems do pass, and the “good” ones return! Yes, they do!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: The Hundred-Foot Journey

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Each Monday, I hope to highlight a book, movie, song, or other artistic work that has been a positive experience for me and, I hope, will be for you. Truly, when you live with all sorts of negative influences (pain, illness, stress, life challenges), the more solid, good, encouraging and inspiring things we can “feed” our spirits and minds with, the stronger we will be for our lives – and the greater the help for others.

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Today, I’d like to offer thoughts on the moving, “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which has been playing successfully in large and small theaters throughout the US and, I believe, abroad.

The story of a family – and individuals in the family – putting their lives back together after tremendous tragedy in their home country, India, the movie focuses on two cultures – French and Indian – and two generations – traditional and “next” and, through the world of food and food preparation, shows how time, patience, willingness to understand, and humor all can combine to allow vastly different people from vastly different backgrounds come together, grow, and love.

The greatest inspiration was the tenacity of the story to show how it is possible to rise above horrible tragedy and even severe setbacks that occur afterward. At any point, the tale could have turned for the worse, but each character allowed a spark of hope to become determination, and that determination to bear new, strong, and very positive fruit.

Refreshing, well-acted, and beautiful to watch, this is a movie I’ll watch over again – and smile!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: How long, oh, Lord?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How long is just right when it comes to prayer time? We have so many suggestions to choose from! Some of our friends might say they set aside a few minutes a day to pray, putting this time into their schedules as they would doctor’s appointments or other commitments. In Scripture, Paul writes about “constantly” thanking God (a form of prayer – 1 Tim 2:13), and the Psalmist says, “With y whole being I sing endless praises to you. O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.” (Psalm 30:13)

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We know that God already knows the prayers in our hearts, the needs in our lives. He knows, too, what our intention is when we pray – that is, where our mind and heart is truly focused. And that, I think, is the point.

We can pray “constantly,” but not be intent upon furthering our relationship with God. We might be distracted, even as we tick off the needs on our prayer lists or the beads on our Rosary.

We can set aside five, ten, fifteen minutes “for prayer,” but be so tired or distracted by our worldly needs that we aren’t present or in the presence of God for even five, ten, or fifteen seconds.

For today, and in your prayer throughout the week ahead, concentrate on finding time, however long or short, when you know you’ll be alert, attentive, and focused on one thing: Talking with God.

The amount of time doesn’t really matter. But the quality of that time does!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Is It Easier to Open up to Strangers?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI overheard a conversation a few days ago. It was very revealing, but it wasn’t between two family members or friends. No, it was between two men waiting for prescriptions at the pharmacy. I was waiting, too, and couldn’t help but overhear – and marvel at how open these two complete strangers were with one another. Their conversation even touched me, although I didn’t participate in it. And, it’s left me wondering, is it sometimes easier to have  a frank conversation about health issues with someone you don’t know, versus someone you know well?

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The conversation started when the one man, with two arm braces and a braced knee, sat down, heavily, in one of the last chairs in the pharmacy waiting area. He happened to sit next to another man, who asked if that particular chair was okay, or if he (the knee-brace-wearing man) would be more comfortable in his (the other man).

The knee-brace wearing man said that it really didn’t matter. He was on his third knee surgery, and was used to waiting. And, he said he was in horrible, horrible pain.

The other man commiserated, and asked if the surgeries were due to athletics.

Yes, said the knee-brace-wearing man. And, he proceeded to list all of the athletic activities he’d done throughout his life. Believe me, it made me exhausted to hear it! Soccer, football, triathalon training, long-distance running, martial arts…and more!

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The other man listened and then said that he, too had been an avid runner. But one day, a conversation with an older, fellow runner, made him “dial it back.” He said that the older runner looked “great, fit, amazing” from the waist up, but from the waist down, the man could barely move. He had pushed his body much farther than he should through all of his running and other athletics, and wanted to warn the other, younger, man, that he should “dial it back,” so he didn’t end up nearly crippled from over-doing.

The knee-brace-wearing man said that he knew he should dial it back. He knew he was doing damage to his body.

“But, if you’re so used to the athletics, how do you do without them? What do you do without them?” And then, his voice cracked. “I mean, I have grandchildren now that I can’t do sports with because of this, but how do you stop?”

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The other man said, “It was hard for me, too. But you should have seen that old runner. I knew I had to dial it back.”

“Yeah,” said the knee-brace-wearing man. “I should dial it back, too.”

There are so many things about the conversation I could talk about here. The need to acknowledge our body’s limits, the importance of respect for preserving movement, the need to work with  out doctors to know what we should and should not be doing.

But, that first question I posed was really the most prominent in my mind as I collected my prescriptions and went on my way.

What is it about strangers that we find so compelling?

And, if it is easier to open up to them, what does this mean for our ability to witness to goodness, health, and faith – no matter where we might be?

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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