Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Love Inside, Love Outside

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Despite the challenges we face, and the pain we endure, this is an uplifting day…and one for reflecting on the active, reflective effect of love on our world. What do I mean by that?

I think especially of the way our inner feelings bubble outward and inspire others.

I smile. You smile.

I laugh. You laugh.

I strive to understand. You feel comfort.

I reach out. You reach back.

Our slightest actions have an effect, and when they are positive, the effect is, most times, positive, too.

But there is one caveat: Outward expressions have to be genuine in order to catch and hold. And life with illness and pain can have a real dampening effect upon our ability to express pure, joyful care.

So, we turn inward, to the love that God gives us within our spirits. We pray for His gentle comfort, and listen intently as He works in us. By ourselves, we who are so very human would usually see our problems, first. Our pain. Our despair. Our needs. But, with Our Father in Heaven, we can be led beyond those things and into His light of love, the warmth of His care. And the glow from that light will shine from our eyes, our hands, our heart, and warm others.

Love inside becomes love outside.

And this day becomes the start of many where we pray, rejoice, and reach, sharing God’s love as warm as the most generous hearth.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Even in Deep Winter

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While driving along a frozen Midwestern road, I saw a startling sight. Despite the frigid temperatures and snow-covered landscape, a horse was grazing in a pasture! Much like this photo by prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net, the horse seemed oblivious to the weather. Even in deep winter, it was going about its day, finding sustenance buried below the surface of the evidence of harsh climes.

I couldn’t get close enough to see if the horse was shivering. As I drove by, though, it didn’t look up. Munch. Munch. Its day carried on as it probably did in summer.

Further down the road, I thought about the calm feeling that came over me, seeing the horse. It’s a feeling that’s worth keeping when other storms rattle us, freeze us, stop us in our tracks. Illness might turn our world upside down. Cold facts about our condition might make us think that spring, and better health, might never come. But some things, even then, can carry on. We can take comfort in a daily routine, a habit or two that can withstand the greatest life challenges.

No wonder that, when a crisis has us reeling, steady neighbors and friends bring casseroles and gentle reminders to “Eat. Rest. Take a break.”

Of course, there’s another take-away from the sight of the horse. If we fall apart completely, if we focus only on our health problems or the fear that they bring into our lives, we might not tend to our basic needs and, thus, not have the strength – spiritual or physical – to make it through them.

You never know what insight you’ll find on a frozen Midwestern road in deep, deep winter!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the things that helps me most to move forward is to look back, to see where I’ve been. Many times haven’t been easy, and many situations have not had clear answers or resolutions. But I “in the now” do not look so much at the details as the heart behind them. That is, the heart expressed in the care of friends, doctors, family, and others, and the heart I’ve benefited from within myself. The heart to continue, to listen to God, to have faith.

It’s easy to think that each tough situation is “the worst.” And, yes, each situation is distinct, with its own set of facts and problems.

But if you look back at even one other difficult situation, you can see how you more than survived. How you carried through. How you learned and grew. How you realized even more how special certain people are to you and you to them.

You had the heart to go on, then, and you have it  now.

It’s fitting that Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Awareness Month fall in February, when the weather can be brutal and the temperatures plummet. February is not a comfortable month for many of us. And yet, we celebrate the heart. The warm, strong, ever-beating, loving and being loved heart.

If you still find it difficult to believe that these days will be better, or that you have the strength to meet them with courage, pause a moment. Reflect on another time, a tough time, in the past. Look how far you’ve come from then to now, and how much more muscle you have to push ahead.

Look back, and see the heart to go on has never left you. And it’s carrying you through now, too.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Dress for success

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When those skimpy hospital gowns make you shudder, and the only “social” appointments you have entail going to a doctor’s office or pharmacy, there’s nothing like a little “dress for success” action to help motivate you and inspire others!

It doesn’t have to be fancy. No sequins or feathers or outrageous hemlines.  But simple selections of a quietly beautiful color, a faith-themed piece of jewelry, a warm and cozy sweater – these things or others right out of your closet can enhance your mood and your look. And, a bit of forward thinking can help take the edge off of the challenges you face healthwise.

Fuzzy slippers at the infusion center.

A jaunty hat pre- and post-MRI.

A wildly colorful tote bag instead of a sedate purse.

A lace scarf to counteract stark hospital sheets.

A long and flowing wig to offset the hairloss beneath it.

We are not being vain when we take a little extra care with our appearance, especially at the most dire of times. In fact, we’re helping those who care for us by giving them an uplifting visual, a silent sense that, although part of us might be down, there is still a part that isn’t.

Maybe you don’t feel like making the effort at all. Ask a friend’s help, then.

Because beyond the pain, there is still goodness. And if you cannot find it in the large things, you can seek it in the small.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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