Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

All Saints…All Souls

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This beginning of November combines many poignant things – celebrating the saints who have gone before us, many of whom lost their lives because of their faith, and commemorating the lives and passing of people closer to us, loved ones, people who have been important in our lives. And, once again, it is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – especially touching for me, as my father, who passed away recently, had this disease.

But juxtaposed with this are words from Pope Francis I, who was just installed as pope this year. During his Easter messages, he repeatedly emphasized a verse from Luke’s gospel in the passage about the Resurrection of Jesus: When the women arrived at the tomb, they did not find Jesus, as they had been expecting. Two men appeared and said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” (Luke 24:4).

Indeed, as we consider the people who have blazed trails for us, gone before us in faith, and influenced our lives, we are not doing ourselves, our faith, or this life justice if we stop there, become weighed down by grief and melancholy. No, we move ahead and take on the great joy and responsibility of seeking Jesus among the living, of striving to emulate the excellence of the saints, of selecting the best of those we know who are no long with us and trying to be better each day, discovering new wonders and ways of God as we do.

Yes, we among the living – live!

Moving into this month of raising awareness and education about Alzheimer’s disease, I’m going to focus especially on actions, activities, and encouragement for people who are living now with ALZ, or those who are caregivers. There are many new programs, support and respite opportunities, and other  things that can be done while the ALZ community “waits for the cure.”  It is much like remembering the past while moving ahead for the better.

And, it fits.

sings for the day,

Maureen

 

Who do you wish you were? And, why?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicEven if you don’t celebrate Halloween, it’s hard to miss the identity changes that take place all around us (especially in Southern California). Adults become children, children become their favorite super-heroes. People open their doors to perfect strangers – and give them treats. Even animals get into the act (tho, perhaps, not voluntarily) with glitzy costumes.

So, with all of this on display, it naturally brings up a question: Who do you wish you were? And, why?

Do you wish you were the supermodel on the magazine cover? Or the brave firefighter, saving lives? Do you wish you could fly? Run a marathon?  Be one of those following Jesus when he walked on earth?

As adults, especially if Halloween isn’t on your list of holidays, it might seem silly or even slightly daft to express the “I wish I were…” within. After all, reality is reality. I cannot change being a lupus patient, for example, nor can I suddenly do away with all of my limitations. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire others for certain qualities and actions. Yes, admire and wish and then…

Often, the person we wish we were holds that place in our thoughts because we wish to emulate certain qualities that they have, good or amazing characteristics of lives that we admire.  That wish to “be like,” in its most noble form, is not silly or daft. It is, actually something that can help make us even more fully realized as people and Children of God. Yes, the good qualities in other people: the beauty they project (inside and out), the helpful things they do, the kindness they exhibit – all of these things are very valid for us to strive for, too.

Perhaps we cannot change our names, or completely alter who we are, and what we do. But this time of year reminds me that there are qualities that reside in others that I’d hope someday to develop in myself.

Striving to be better – and learning how to do that from others who are farther along their journey than I am. Yes, that’s who. And that’s why.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Updating worn-out shoes

posted by mpratt

One of my most comfortable pair of shoes is just about worn out. This particular pair has been my go-to-when-I’m-out-and-about shoe for several years, and it’s been greatly helpful in terms of cushioning my steps and keeping me from experiencing worse pain on the days when I’ve had errands, doc appointments, and other outings. But, alas, the soles are just beginning to crack, and the soft insides are not quite so soft anymore.  I’ll have to find another pair to replace them, and I know it won’t be easy. But, sigh, necessary.

Which gets me to thinking about changing old habits to new. Old habits, even if they’re not the most healthful, are like our favorite pair of go-to shoes. We don’t have to think, extend our efforts, or look far – there they are. And, at first, these old habits might seem great. Or, at least, enjoyable. Until they start to unravel, wear thin, hurt at bit – and then more.  Usually there comes a point when we know we have to change. But old habits are hard to break unless…

Unless we think about the good things that are in store as we switch from those old clunkers to new, more supportive “shoes.” Then, we can begin to understand the benefits of moving beyond something rote and routine. And then, we can take that understanding and forge a new “habit” that will help us be stronger, healthier, and able to move forward with a really great stride.

My old shoes are not exactly a bad habit. But I realize that, as I’ve sort of denied how worn they’ve become, I’ve not been able to truly see the reality of how less helpful they are. Until today, when I had to run a string of errands. Yup. Time to move on.

If you’re struggling with changing a bad habit, my prayes are with you as you move forward. God is with you each step – and you have more strength insde of you than you ever imagined!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Finding Fitness Feats that Fit

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicAh, exercise! Love it or hate it, most of us have heard our doctors tell us that it’s vital to overall wellbeing, not to mention our particular illnesses and/or pain.  But for many, that’s not exactly total motivation; that is, just because someone tells us we have to do it, and they are a health expert, doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to take their words to the track or the pool or wherever else we try to act on their advice.

Finding the fitness feats that fit for each of us requires a sometimes herculean effort – When? Where? How? How much? How little?  Honestly, that’s an exercise in puzzle solving by itself.

And yet, we know fitness is important. We  know that the right kind of exercise can give us extra strength, energy, and perhaps chase away the blues that hover at times during these painful, unpredictably illness-laden lives. So, what do we do about it?

Obviously, there are oodles of possibilities. Gyms, of course, which can be pricey and distant. Home exercise tapes, which may or may not give us the workouts we need. If you’re in a temperate climate, walking outdoors is a possibility. If not, even the local mall might be a good place to get those sneakers on. But the most earnest or grandiose plan to exercise will fall apart quickly if the key to it all, the key to perseverence, is missing…

I’m someone who did everything she could to get out of gym class in high school. Dodge ball was not me, and the few times I tried a balance beam were, well, forgettable in the deepest sense of the word. But there was one thing…Before lupus, I used to play tennis 4 or 5 times a week, if I could. I’d even travel with my racquet sometimes, and play after long days of meetings. Alas, now that I cannot go out in the sun and play, and also because I’ve developed nasty arthritis, I have to limit my court time. But I still try to play, as well as follow other doctors’ suggestions about things I can do to stay fit enough to do so – and here is my key to finding fitness that fits:

Find something moving that moves you emotionally, that you discover you like  doing. Talk to your doctor about what he or she suggests and/or work with a physical therapist to get specific guidance, and then try a few possibilities until you find the thing that works for you, your health, and your heart – physical and emotional.  It’s not impossible, especially if you approach exercise creatively. For example, there have been a few studies that gardening is good for the health – and those who’ve spent time tilling the soil know already how much of a workout it can be. Parking the car a few blocks from work or the doctor’s office and walking there can contribute to an exercise plan. Being mindful of how sedentary you are now, and shaving minutes of “sit time” off each week can help, too.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to work with your doctor about your individual health situation when it comes to exercise. And, as you explore the possibilities, keep in touch with your heart. Find that fitness feat that fits – and enjoy!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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