Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Winter Wonder-land

posted by mpratt
Image courtesty of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesty of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Didn’t it begin earlier? Winter, I mean. Snow has already blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere, and cold temps have thrown many areas into a deep freeze. Yet, calendar-wise, winter has only begun on December 21. Makes me wonder if the dates really matter much, when we see what’s really happening in the world. After all,”winter” connotes much of what has been occurring already- winter weather, winter clothing out of storage, wintry “comfort food” on the table. And, along with this, we’re already experiencing the inconvenience of winter storms, the pang of colder wind, and the overall chilled feeling of shorter days and longer nights.

What is the point of keeping track of winter on a calendar?

Perhaps superficially, there is no real point at all. But looking more deeply, I think there is – and we can glean from this more profound reason a bit of warm wisdom for our souls, too.

Pain and illness are much like winter. They are uncomfortable (to say the least!) and they turn us away from light, warmth, and comfort. Their time-span is like a long, barren season, when we might become increasingly despondent, even depressed as they wear on, seemingly without end.  But then, moving alongside of us throughout our lives, is a kind of “calendar” of faith. As we move through the year, we have Easter, an uplifting holiday to remember God’s love for us and His amazing power. And we have Christmas, a time to focus on God’s love, too, and His gifts to us.  Were it not for these times, these ways in which God manifests His love for us, we might continue on our wintry way. But these events celebrated each year renew our spirits, refresh our souls, and give us the spring, summer and fall that we need to weather those really difficult “other” times – those winters.

Winter allows the earth to rest and the world to slow down a bit. The winters in our souls afford us the opportunity to hibernate, too, and work at renewing our spiritual lives so that we might emerge stronger, more joyful, and grow brighter in His Light for days and years to come!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

Happiness in a Box?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve had more doctor appointments than usual, lately, because of the episode with my eye. So, I’ve tried to “lighten” things up by finding bits of humor. I recommend this for any heart that is heavy with the burdens of chronic illness. No doubt about it, laughter or even a simple smile at something humorous can truly lift the spirits and make it easier to cope with what chronic illness and pain throw at us.

So, on one particular day, I was passing by a restaurant called “Nirvana.” And in front of the restaurant was a sign that said, “Happy Hour 4:30-6:30 PM Daily.”  This struck me as very funny – and poignant, too.

There was a whole restaurant going by a name reflecting ultimate happiness or realization – and its “Happy Hour” was limited to 2 hours!

Don’t we do this, too?

We dedicate our lives to Christ, to praising and loving our Lord wholeheartedly. But sometimes, we limit our uplifting moments to a finite period of time: private prayer minutes, specific church services, windows of time when we are having a “good” day. Our Christmas Joy might only be consciously upon our lips and in our hearts from December 1 through the 25. Our Easter wonder might be similarly limited.

Happiness runs deeply in the souls of believers. And, yes, it is true that there are times when we are sorrow-filled, frustrated, and weary. But that happiness, and along with it the love the Lord has for us, cannot be confined to specific spaces and times. It’s waiting to bubble up and over any tears we shed or cries we utter – if we let it.

Happiness in a box? Not unless it’s wrapped up with a pretty ribbon and destined to be spilled open and spread around – like a good, humorous moment shared or a song sung for all.

Amazing what you can discover on the way to the doctor’s office!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

Chronic Illness: Teetering on Your Pedestal?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicDuring holiday season, we come in contact with many more people than we usually do. In the course of our conversations, we probably talk about the health challenges we’ve endured throughout the year-almost-past (or, at least some of them).  And, perhaps, the person with whom we’re speaking says something like, “Oh, you’re so strong!’ or “Oh, you’re incredible – you handle those challenges so well.” Or, the “topper” – “I could never cope as well as you do…”

I learned long ago that the best way to take a compliment is to simply say, “Thank you.” But so often, when someone says they admire the way I take on my own health challenges, inside, I cringe a little.  Not that I don’t strive to be as good as I possibly can be, and not that I don’t believe to my core that God is guiding me, encouraging me, and comforting me along my journey. But, I’m only human, as is each person who lives with chronic illness. And, sometimes, well, we teeter on our pedestals!

Proverbial teetering might include suddenly becoming frustrated with medication that takes too long to work, or a body that doesn’t do all that we’d like it to do. It might mean actually getting irritated or out-right angry that we have to change or cancel plans to do something we’ve really looked forward to  - because of an illness that flares or a new symptom that arises.

Frustration at the fits and starts we experience while getting ready to step outside our front door. Aggravation that brain fog interferes with our ability to remember important details (or names). Overall, bone-numbing fatigue that can drive us to tears when the days and nights seem achingly long.

All of these things are part and parcel of our reaction to an ongoing life with illness. And they indicate that we are, as I said, human. And, they also go right along with the other courageous things we do to cope, to shine with God’s light, and to be the best we can be with all that we are given.

When someone says, “You are so brave,” you might cringe, at first, and think that you are anything but. You know how you feel “behind the scenes,” and it often doesn’t reflect the makings of a super-hero. But – and this is important to remember –  the person offering the compliment is seeing in you someone they admire, someone who is striving.

So, as we teeter, we also need to remember that we’re doing some things very right, and showing others that it is possible to have faith along the difficult walk we take each day.

Yes, we teeter – but we do not fall!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Active Peace

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re almost halfway through Advent, nearly two weeks away from once again welcoming the Prince of Peace.

How is your peace?

Are you frazzled from all the activity of the Season, yet? Feeling buffeted by family squabbles that have a way of erupting at this time of year?

Are you struggling, waging a war of resources (time, money,health) amid the demands of December?

Are you clinging to the last shred of hope and light while feeling pulled away from anchors of faith, comfort, and joy?

This month can be filled with many blessings, but it can also challenge our fragile spirits in myriad ways, especially when it comes to peace of mind and heart.

All the more reason to revisit what peace is and where it resides within you, within me. All the more reason to take steps to nurture it, yes, even as winter winds, both personal and meteorological, batter against our “house,” our soul.

By His life, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, shows us the way. Humble, sure, ready to take time to be alone and to pray, Jesus lived active peace for himself and others. He didn’t wait until all storms blew over, nor did he rage against them or cower. He firmly insisted they “be still,” and remained close to the Father in faith and in prayer before, during and after.

Peace grows in the stillness, but we have to insist on that stillness to grow peace. This active way of cultivating that which strengthens us in the face of life’s storms is helpful when we feel most helpless and supportive when we feel least supported.

Active peace. Not waiting for things to settle, but being firm for peace within us nowacting for peace around us now.

Welcoming the Prince of Peace into our world now.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Chronic Pain: Lost and Found
Somewhere, amid the pain and the frustration we feel over lost health and today's health trials, there are bright, uplifting memories we've lost track of, times when life was easier or days when we heard and enjoyed laughter, did good things and had good times. There are people and places that broug

posted 1:10:19am Aug. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Embracing smooth sailing!
Like the calm before the storm, or the comfort before the next flare, the period of relatively "smooth sailing" can be a bit nerve-wracking. We know that "chronic" means ongoing, and have had flares rise up unexpectedly in the past. So, a period of quiet, when the illness is not so active, might mak

posted 8:03:03pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: What if you missed Tuesday?
If you have a chronic illness or live with serious pain, you know that sometimes, you "miss" a day or two in the week. It's too hard to get out of bed. You are going through medical tests, and the outside world seems to disappear into the technicality of prep and procedure. You're brain-fogged, and

posted 1:56:46am Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: Slow down!
It's TLC Tuesday, again. But it's also probably the heart of "Back to..." season. Back to school, back to work, back to lots and lots of activities. Yes, activities, and, probably, a lot more stress, a lot more "Hurry up!" But we know that our illnesses and pain often react negatively to "Hurry u

posted 1:31:48am Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: If You Were Not You
One of the techniques I try to use whenever I'm in a quandry over something regarding my health is to ask, "What if I were not me? What if I were my mother? My sister? My friend? What would I say? Do? Pray over?" This helps me take the sometimes-frustrated or "at sea" me out of the conversation a

posted 1:47:51am Aug. 23, 2014 | read full post »


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