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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

A Praying Spirit: Praying Love

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, as we celebrate love in all it’s forms, I encourage you to “pray love.” What do I mean by this?

First, pray that God’s love may cover all those whom you hold dear, including yourself. Ask that His goodness and comfort may permeate your lives, inside and out.

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Next, pray for those whom you do not know, but who are suffering from lack of love, those whose lives are covered in darkness, despair, fear, pain, and loneliness. Spend extra time imagining your prayer moving and resting over these souls, breaking through the darkness and delivering light.

Third, rest. Listen to God’s response to your prayers for and of love. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. Listen in simple wonder at the power – and the inspiration – of Our Lord’s mercy.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you feel – and share – love!

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Hope for Chronically Ill Teens

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicAs a teenager, it seemed as if I was always getting sick. “Regular” things, like colds and flu, and “Really Wierd Illnesses” that, in hindsight, were probably manifestations and flares of the lupus I would later learn that I have. It wasn’t easy being sick so often. I missed out on school classes and other activities, and felt internal stress heaped on the normal development we go through when transitioning from child to young adult.

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But there was a benefit to being sick, too. Yes, those “bad stretches” have their positive sides – if we look for them. And now, as I am older and have the luxury of looking back, I can say that the lessons I learned, consciously or unconsciously, have helped me, I hope, be a better and unique individual. Here are some of the benefits; if you are a teen and have a chronic illness, I offer them as food for thought and, I pray, hope:

o  If you suffer from a chronic illness, you are in a unique and wonderful position to learn just how amazing, delicate, and complex our bodies are. You learn how to better care for yourself, and throughout your life, you can apply that knowledge to yourself and others.

o  You can develop into a very unique person. Yes, it hurts to have to study at home and not participate in a lot of the “usual” things teens do. But your chronic illness is allowing you time and space to develop your very individual self – hopes, dreams, and plans, too. By all means, work hard to build good, positive and nurturing friendships and enjoy this time of your life. But also embrace the precious, singular person you are and are becoming!

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o  Talk to God as a friend and build your spirituality. When I was so very sick as a child, my mother told me, “Even if you are alone, God is with you. You can always talk to God.” That advice has sustained me and inspired me so very much, and it’s also been a great comfort. Yes, sometimes my talks with God are not easy ones. Sometimes, he gets quite an earful! But always, I am grateful for His presence and work in my life – and for the ability to talk with him no matter when.

o  Develop your dreams and develop a plan.  Today more than ever, people with chronic illness are able to be active and productive in a variety of areas. Even if you are considered “totally disabled,” you have something to give, and should keep dreaming – and planning – how you can take your many attributes and gifts and use them for the good of all.

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o  You are strong!  Throughout your life, you will encounter people who say, “I can’t make it.”  “I can’t do this.” “This situation is just too hard for me to handle.” The tough things you are going through now are showing you that you have a tremendous amount of inner strength and resilience. This enables you to be an inspiration for others who have not quite developed their inner strength like you have. And it enables you to guide them through their tough patches in the days and years ahead.

Above all, know that your life matters. You matter. And although life is not exactly easy, it is full of wonderful blessings – beginning with your unique and God-given spirit!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Learning to Laugh – At Ourselves!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThere’s no way around it – if we want to be happier, we have to laugh more. And the best way to start is with ourselves!

Over the past few years, I’ve watched the body of research around the health benefits of laughter grow. Besides releasing positive hormones that create more of a sense of well-being, laughter can have positive effects on just about any aspect of our lives. Think about it – doesn’t the world seem better when you laugh?

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Of course, laughter shouldn’t be cruel or made at the expense of someone else’s feelings. Laughter that is base and tinged with nastiness doesn’t lift anyone up or promote kindness and joy.

But laughter that uplifts, that allows us to see the quirky side of life and that helps us not take ourselves so seriously that we forget how beautiful and wonder-ful this world and life are – that’s the kind of laughter I try to get more of each day. And, yes, at at least one point during the day, there is something about myself that I just have to laugh at.

Make fun of? No. Just shake my head, chuckle and smile, embrace with warmth and a light laugh. That’s the kind of uplifting moment I mean.

Finding the hint of funny about our lives helps us balance those times that are harder and heart-wrenching. It also brings out the oh-so-human side of us and helps us better appreciate God’s greatness.

Today, take a moment to laugh. Let the sound ripple around you as beautiful music. Because it is – and you are – blessedly human!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: Who’s Your Hero?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re thick in the “hero” season, with holidays and other celebrations focused on individuals or concepts (such as Valentine’s Day and love) that remind us of the heroes in our lives. Martin Luther King, J.r., Day in January and Black History Month this month; Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and George Washington’s Birthday in February, Purim in March, and Easter in April – throughout these days, we’re surrounded by stories of bravery, old and new.  And this leads me to ask:

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Who is my hero? Who is your hero? And, why?

I suppose we don’t have to have just one hero (and I’m using the term to mean either a man or a woman). My mother, my friends, my doctors, those I learn from – these are all heroes in my mind and heart.  Jesus Christ, Mary, the Apostles – these and other religious heroes figure prominently, too. And then, as I look at the world around me, there are public figures who are heroes, especially those who stand up to injustice or continue working for good despite tremendous odds.

Lately, I have found myself learning and reading more about the many heroes throughout history. I just can’t get enough of their stories and the inspiration they provide through their examples. I wash away the cynicism and down-beat influences of bad news and bad deeds others carry out by filling my mind with these stories of goodness, bravery, and love. I feel more energized doing this, more hopeful. And, certainly educated and edified by the things these people do and have done.

Some people will say that, today, there are no heroes. I say there are many, all around us, and it’s our privilege to get to know them in everyway we can. Through the light that they shine, our world is brighter and we are inspired to, yes, strive for heroism, too!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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