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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness and Pain: All Tied Up in Ribbons?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of J Frasse/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of J Frasse/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I noticed that the cashier at a store where I shop was wearing a red dress ribbon, for heart health. I commented on it, and she said, “Oh, yes, we had a promotion for cancer awhile ago. I like the ribbon.”

“Isn’t the red dress for heart health?” I asked.

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The cashier thought about it and said, “Oh, I guess your right. I get these ribbons confused sometimes.”

And, so do I. For every color in the rainbow and more, there seems to be an awareness ribbon. And with so many causes linked to so many colored ribbons, I’m beginning to think that the overall effect of each individual cause is becoming diluted, at least on first glance. Lupus, for example, has been associated with purple, but also with orange (although, to be fair, that color generally is on a loop).  As for the multi-colored ribbons? Oh, I give up!

With May being Lupus Awareness Month, I thought I’d add to the conversation by saying that whether we have lupus or another illness, really the best way to gain awareness is to be our eager and articulate selves. We live the disease each day, so why not use our experiences as our ribbons, disseminating information to our circle of loved ones first and then, as we grow that circle, to others. If we put the money spent in manufacturing and distributing ribbons and other things, into research and verbal awareness campaigns, thing how much farther along we could be, especially with such under-funded diseases as lupus!

If you feel as if you’re all tied up in ribbons, you’re not alone. But by tackling the “knotty” problem with positive communication and example, we can make it very clear, yes loud and clear, that there are many things beyond ribbons and loops – there are people – and that is truly the point.

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Compose Yourself!

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wait! Wait! I’ve got it…uh…it’s…I’ve got it…Oh, no I don’t!

If you have an illness where there is a component of brain fog (as with lupus and many other autoimmune illnesses), you’ve probably had the experience of trying to remember the words or melody to a song and come up short. We all have favorite music, but when illness flares, recall can be tough (good thing for CDs and MP3s!)

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But rather than get frustrated, there’s another way to approach musical memory mayhem. Compose something yourself! Yes, make up your own words and tune, fitting them into how you’re feeling and what you’re doing – or not, because the choice is yours!

Pretend that you cannot speak, but only sing, and let your voice express yourself to the four walls of your room or inside your car or, even, to whomever is in your life and willl listen! Punctuate your vocal variety with hand claps or foot stomps or even improvised dance. Again, the choice is completely up to you – no critic will review you, no audience will boo you!

Some research has shown that singing and music can be very therapeutic. We can all use an expression for our creativity, that wonderful, rollicking gift that God has only and exclusively bestowed on his human children. Why not compose yourself today? Let your song rise and with it, your spirit, too!

Joys!

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Take Competition Out of the Day

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicWe do it every day, although much of the time we probably don’t even think about it consciously. Yet, we compete – against against traffic, against fellow shoppers, against the clock, against the world. Even, sometimes, against ourselves (for example, can we go even one more rep in the gym, or fit in one more commitment?). Yes, we are competitive creatures – but oh, how being competitive can make us stressed and often prompt us to lose sight of what is truly important in our lives!

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Being competitive automatically puts a qualifier on how we view each other – at work, are we better, more popular, or smarter than everyone else? In traffic, are we critical of other drivers as we take unnecessary risks ourselves? When we look at ourselves, do we see God’s wonderful child, or do we see smoeone who could be thinner, prettier, more muscular, or taller?

The truth about being competitive is that we will never be better, smarter, richer, or more attractive than every person or thing we come in contact with. By “turning on” our competitive spirit when it is appropriate, and moderating it when it is not, we will be able to enter into relationships with others and activities with less stress and more pure joy.

Today, try to notice the ways in which you exercise the urge to compete. Not if or how it makes you tenser, physically or emotionally. Encourage yourself to take the world, others, and yourself as you are – approaching all with love.

Taking competition out of even one day a week just might make us happier for days to come!

Joys,
Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: Praying Sound-ly

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI’ve lived and traveled abroad, and one of the things that always made me laugh was when someone would try to communicate with someone else who did not speak his or her language. Instead of trying to use sign language or find an interpreter, often the person trying to communicate would just use the same words, only speaking more loudly. Or, sometimes yelling!

As if by raising the volume would change make the message come through clearer!

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Of course, it seld0m, if ever, did.

We sometimes do the same thing, though, when we pray, especially if our prayers have not yet been answered as we think they should be. Instead of trying to see God’s way and will in a particular situation, we might get “stuck” on the same supplication from our end, only praying the same thing louder and longer, believing that at some point, God will answer our way.

Think about the prayers you lift up this week. Think about to whom you are praying, not to a reflection of yourself, who agrees fully with everything you are asking for, but to God, who knows what is best for you – and that best might not be exactly what you think it should be.

By praying sound-ly, and not loudly, we can better communicate with and hear God.

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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