Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Even in Deep Winter

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While driving along a frozen Midwestern road, I saw a startling sight. Despite the frigid temperatures and snow-covered landscape, a horse was grazing in a pasture! Much like this photo by prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net, the horse seemed oblivious to the weather. Even in deep winter, it was going about its day, finding sustenance buried below the surface of the evidence of harsh climes.

I couldn’t get close enough to see if the horse was shivering. As I drove by, though, it didn’t look up. Munch. Munch. Its day carried on as it probably did in summer.

Further down the road, I thought about the calm feeling that came over me, seeing the horse. It’s a feeling that’s worth keeping when other storms rattle us, freeze us, stop us in our tracks. Illness might turn our world upside down. Cold facts about our condition might make us think that spring, and better health, might never come. But some things, even then, can carry on. We can take comfort in a daily routine, a habit or two that can withstand the greatest life challenges.

No wonder that, when a crisis has us reeling, steady neighbors and friends bring casseroles and gentle reminders to “Eat. Rest. Take a break.”

Of course, there’s another take-away from the sight of the horse. If we fall apart completely, if we focus only on our health problems or the fear that they bring into our lives, we might not tend to our basic needs and, thus, not have the strength – spiritual or physical – to make it through them.

You never know what insight you’ll find on a frozen Midwestern road in deep, deep winter!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the things that helps me most to move forward is to look back, to see where I’ve been. Many times haven’t been easy, and many situations have not had clear answers or resolutions. But I “in the now” do not look so much at the details as the heart behind them. That is, the heart expressed in the care of friends, doctors, family, and others, and the heart I’ve benefited from within myself. The heart to continue, to listen to God, to have faith.

It’s easy to think that each tough situation is “the worst.” And, yes, each situation is distinct, with its own set of facts and problems.

But if you look back at even one other difficult situation, you can see how you more than survived. How you carried through. How you learned and grew. How you realized even more how special certain people are to you and you to them.

You had the heart to go on, then, and you have it  now.

It’s fitting that Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Awareness Month fall in February, when the weather can be brutal and the temperatures plummet. February is not a comfortable month for many of us. And yet, we celebrate the heart. The warm, strong, ever-beating, loving and being loved heart.

If you still find it difficult to believe that these days will be better, or that you have the strength to meet them with courage, pause a moment. Reflect on another time, a tough time, in the past. Look how far you’ve come from then to now, and how much more muscle you have to push ahead.

Look back, and see the heart to go on has never left you. And it’s carrying you through now, too.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Dress for success

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When those skimpy hospital gowns make you shudder, and the only “social” appointments you have entail going to a doctor’s office or pharmacy, there’s nothing like a little “dress for success” action to help motivate you and inspire others!

It doesn’t have to be fancy. No sequins or feathers or outrageous hemlines.  But simple selections of a quietly beautiful color, a faith-themed piece of jewelry, a warm and cozy sweater – these things or others right out of your closet can enhance your mood and your look. And, a bit of forward thinking can help take the edge off of the challenges you face healthwise.

Fuzzy slippers at the infusion center.

A jaunty hat pre- and post-MRI.

A wildly colorful tote bag instead of a sedate purse.

A lace scarf to counteract stark hospital sheets.

A long and flowing wig to offset the hairloss beneath it.

We are not being vain when we take a little extra care with our appearance, especially at the most dire of times. In fact, we’re helping those who care for us by giving them an uplifting visual, a silent sense that, although part of us might be down, there is still a part that isn’t.

Maybe you don’t feel like making the effort at all. Ask a friend’s help, then.

Because beyond the pain, there is still goodness. And if you cannot find it in the large things, you can seek it in the small.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by the woman’s side until she began to move. Apparently (at least to my mind), she thought traffic was clear. But the dog sensed otherwise and curled around her legs, stopping her from stepping off the curb. Just then, a car moving very fast turned the corner and sped off right in front of the woman and dog. A few seconds more, a few steps more, and the woman would have been hit.  Traffic cleared. I waited, though, for the woman and dog to make their steady way across the intersection. Only then did I breathe deeply and move on.

We don’t have to be stunt people or circus performers to lead daring lives, do we? Driving, walking, even shopping (those heavy carts can mow you down if you’re not careful) – truly our everyday lives can be dangerous.  And for the person who is “differently abled,” our neighborhoods can be obstacle courses. Even our homes can have places of peril (how long has it been since you looked up and into that narrow cupboard above the refrigerator?)

Yet, as I saw with the woman and her dog, just because there is danger does not mean we have to sit at home in a corner and let the world carry on without us. We can take precautions, be aware of our surroundings, and know our capabilities and when to ask for help.

And, we can trust. Trust is key.

The woman I saw knew she could trust her dog, and she obeyed his intervention when she was about to walk into the street.

Who do we trust? We might not have sight-assistance dogs, but we have One who is all-seeing all the time. We have the Lord. And if we keep our intention on listening to Him, we can sense the times when He holds us back in order to protect us so that we can move forward.

There’s a wonderful song called “Unseen Dangers” by Carol Antrum that sums it up: “If you could have seen the unseen dangers that the Lord kept you from today, you would be praising God!”

Praising indeed! And loudly!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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