Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Food for Thought: Refresh Me, Lord

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicMany of you know Lisa J. Copen as the Founder of RestMinistries, an online resource for people living with chronic pain and illness of the invisible kind (www.restministries.org). Each year, Lisa sponsors an “Invisible Illness Awareness Week,” and I’ve been honored to participate in it several times, with workshops and interviews.

Lisa is also an author of several books on chronic illness and, this month, she will have a new and different book available to people who might feel that, with their health challenges, they are having trouble praying.

“Refresh Me, Lord,” is a collection of prayers written by Lisa and intended to help readers get closer to God through prayer. It touches on many of the themes I covered in my book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness,” and also on some that I have no experience with, but Lisa does, such as motherhood, being a spouse, and enduring surgeries and mobility issues (especially poignant is her prayer about being uncomfortable with the visual image of using a walker).

Lisa’s heart comes through strongly in her prayers, and her faith shows the refinement of someone who has endured – and come through – more than one dark valley, still with faith and still with hope.

“Refresh Me, Lord,” is available through the RestMinistries website and online booksellers.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

A Praying Spirit: Do you forget, sometimes?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was looking forward to the day ahead. The sun was shining, my usual aches and pains were at a minimum. I started my morning routine, all happy and uplifted. And then, wham! I realized I’d forgotten to say my morning prayers!

Oops!

I was so caught up in the “moment” of the beginning of a good day, I’d forgotten to do what I promised myself I would always do, which was to begin the day in prayer.

I dropped everything and circled back to the beginning, and lifted up a huge “I’m sorry, Father,” for having forgotten.

And then, it struck me – wasn’t my appreciation and eagerness for the day a form of prayer? Oh, I don’t mean as an excuse for not praying. But, wasn’t my behavior that morning a kind of “I’m a child of the Father, and I’m so excited about this gift he has given  me that I forgot, for a moment, to say ‘thank you?'” moment? As children will often do, given an exciting, wonderful gift by a parent or grandparent?

In that light, I could imagine God smiling and shaking his head at my antics. Certainly, he wouldn’t punish me for my lapse. And, anyway, he knows exactly what I am going to pray at all times, anyway.

Above all, that morning was a good reminder that a rigid schedule can be helpful, but our intention is even more so. If we drag ourselves mechanically through the exact same prayer at the exact same time, we might lose the point of appreciating God’s gift of life and the blessings of a particularly wonderful, very good day.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

Chronic Illness and Pain: The Gift of Planning Ahead

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicNext year’s birthday cards – done!

This year’s holiday gifts – done!

Yummy chicken soup prepared and in the freezer ahead of cold and flu season – done!

I’ve often written about how hard it is to make firm commitments to things in the future. Chronic illness and pain have a way of interfering with even the most mundane of plans, and I even have to caution my doctors that, if I’m suddenly sick or in a flare, I probably won’t be able to keep my appointments with them, let alone do anything else.

But there’s another kind of planning ahead that we can avail ourselves of – and save ourselves a great deal of stress. That planning is looking – and acting – ahead of events we know will come in the weeks, months, and year to yet unfold.

With a little forethought, we can have a file with birthday, anniversary, and even bereavement cards ready and addressed so that all we have to do is sign them with a personal note and mail them when the time comes.

A corner of a closet is a perfect place to stash gifts, purchased or made throughout the year. On good days, you can wrap them and label them, so that all you have to do is present the presents when Christmas, Hannukah, or another holiday arrives.

I make great use of my slow cooker, especially when the weather begins to get a little cool. I store meals in reheatable/freezalbe containers so that on those very “bad” days, I have healthful meals and very easy preparation.

All of these things and others relieve us of stress and make it easier for us to participate in others’ happiness (those presents and cards) and live realatively “normally,” even when we don’t feel like doing much of anything at all (those frozen and ready meals).

You can probably think of many more things you can do ahead of time – feel free to share them! And breathe a little easier as you accomplish some thing ahead so you don’t feel like illness and pain cause you to be always behind!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: Does Ebola Scare You?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIt seemed so far away. Until now. As I type this, a second person in Dallas has been diagnosed with ebola, and more are being monitored.  People are talking about it on the news and elsewhere, and asking the question, “How bad can this get?” And those of us with chronic illness, and especially those who are immuno-compromised, are probably paying even closer attention to reports and, yes, even rumors. Some, maybe many, are beginning to feel uneasy at the thought of an incurable, usually fatal, horrible illness spiralling through the United States and elsewhere. Others might be scared already.

I’m in the second month of taking a very powerful immunosuppressive drug to combat the autoimmune processes caused by lupus and my other serious illnesses. I know that, as this medication builds up in my system, I will be less able to fight off germs, and so will have to take more and more precautions. In fact, I’ve already begun to take them, to fold them into my life and become more at ease about control I can take to try to stay infection free.  “Crunch time,” that is, cold and flu season, will soon be here, and I hope by then to be fluent in taking protective measures as much as I can and, then, relying on faith to help me manage any uneasieness about the “what if.”

As the news of ebola has become louder and closer to home, I’m reminded about how fragile life is, how much medical science has yet to learn, and how, with travel as easy and rapid as it is today, things far away can arrive closer to home. But I’m also reminded about how courageous so many people are – healthcare workers, family members and friends, and others rendering aid. I’m hopeful that the right measures will be taken to protect them and others as much as possible. And I’m confident that the human spirit can rise to this, as with any, challenge.

In that spirit, I’m lifting up in prayer all those who are trying to unravel this puzzle of the ebola virus, and the other viruses that are hitting people far and near (such as the entero virus). I’m also praying that those who fear will be comforted and those who mourn will be met with compassion.  I’m also trying to stay informed and measured, keeping my doctor-prescribed course as usual.

And if I come across someone who is trying to stir up sensational fear, or trying to point to all humanity as being punished for their sinfulness by being struck with ebola, I point to heaven, and our heavenly Father who loves us and is there for us with strength, light, and other abundant blessings.

Yes, our loving Father – our all in all, through it all!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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