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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days...Bad Days With Maureen Pratt Archives

How Do We Know When God Is Smiling On Us?

posted by mpratt

We who live with chronic illness and pain develop some mighty powerful prayer muscles! Long prayers, short prayers, shouted prayers, sobbing prayers – we’ve spoken and thought these and many others during good and bad days. And, if you’re like […]

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In Prayer You Are Safe

posted by mpratt

If you’ve ever cringed before revealing to someone a very deep, serious emotion, then you understand that stomach-churning sensation of danger just before divulging something profoundly personal. Sometimes, we might not feel we can trust the other person in whom […]

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Memorial Day: As We Remember

posted by mpratt

The important thing about remembering past wars is that we use their lessons to think of ways to avoid future wars – and to act on those peace-making ways. This Memorial Day, beyond the barbecues and parties, the shopping and […]

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A Praying Spirit: Too Easy?

posted by mpratt

Is your prayer time over before you know it? Gone through the list and all finished? Sometimes, we get into a routine (yes, routines can be good, but…) and over time, our prayer life can become a bit too easy. […]

A Praying Spirit: One Word at a Time

posted by mpratt

When I was a youngster, I used to be really mad that people in church seemed to rush through the prayers. “They’re going too fast,” I used to tell my mother. “They should slow down.” As I developed my own […]

A Praying Spirit: Praying Sound-ly

posted by mpratt

I’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 […]

A Praying Spirit: Mundane Prayer

posted by mpratt

Laundry, dishes, fixing a meal, brushing our teeth – these are “usual” parts of our day that we probably don’t give much thought to. Mundane things – and often, they are activities that we try to hurry through so that […]

A Praying Spirit: Fair Weather Prayer

posted by mpratt

Have you ever prayed beneath the bright blue sky of God’s creation? Or knelt on soft grass and given thanks to its Creator? We might pray for rain, or for warm days to come after a hard winter. But besides […]

A Praying Spirit: Do You Judge When You Pray?

posted by mpratt

It’s easy to pray for those we love. Friends, family, neighbors, people who help us or encourage us. But, what about praying for those people who have hurt us? Or, who have committed crimes, acts of violence, or other attrocities? […]

A Praying Spirit: When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

posted by mpratt

Perhaps you’re tired. Bone-weary. Angry. Deeply torn. Spiritually dry. Perhaps it’s taken a long time to admit it, but now you do. You don’t feel like praying. Are you a bad person? Sinning for saying it? Hopelessly lost? Not at […]

A Praying Spirit: Pray It Aloud

posted by mpratt

Today, we think of it as speaking in our regular tone and volume, but did you know that an archaic meaning for the word “aloud” is “singing with joy?”  For this post, I’d like to suspend our contemporary understanding of […]

A Praying Spirit: Holding Fast to Prayer Time

posted by mpratt

I really admire people who can get up each morning and immediately embark on deep prayer. Or, those who, no matter what, reserve a specific time later in the day for prayer – no matter where they are or what […]

A Praying Spirit: Returning to a Prayer Answered

posted by mpratt

If you find that your prayer time has been overshadowed by concerns, wants, needs, and disappointments, you might need to go back. Back? Where? Back to when God answered your prayers, a prayer, your prayer. Why? Think back to Christmas. Many times, after […]

Chronic Pain: The Void in Your Life

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, pain becomes so overwhelming that it closes out every ounce of strength and light that we might once have felt. And, into their place, there is a void. A void of light. A void of will. A void of […]

A Praying Spirit: Where Does Your Prayer Go?

posted by mpratt

If you’re stuck when you pray, if you don’t think your prayers are being heard, you might be holding back, even if you think you’re pouring your heart out to God. How can that be? Sometimes, we desire something so […]

A Praying Spirit: Every Little Thing

posted by mpratt

I’m working on a new book for Franciscan Media (due out in 2016), and in preparation, I’m reading up on Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis left a big legacy and an enormous imprint on people the world over. His […]

A Praying Spirit: Why Not Now?

posted by mpratt

As we get back into our regular routines in the new year, I’m thinking of how I will incorporate more prayer into my days. If I look at some of the blocks on my calendar, full of doctor’s visits and […]

A Praying Spirit: Advent Week Four

posted by mpratt

Christmas is near! And no doubt your calendar is full of more things than you know you will be able to accomplish between now and the 24th. All the more reason why breaking away and taking time for prayer is […]

A Praying Spirit: Advent Week Two

posted by mpratt

  Anytime we confide in someone, however close we are to them, we need to have lots of trust. Trust that they will listen truly and faithfully. Trust that they will provide us with authentic reflections and guidance. Trust that […]

A Praying Spirit: Praying through Advent

posted by mpratt

Advent begins this weekend, and I am really looking forward to it! In Advent, I always try to to do something different with my prayer life, or with my Scripture study. Often, these new approaches or practices carry forward into […]

A Praying Spirit: Prayer with a Friend

posted by mpratt

Jesus told us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) This is particularly powerful when you think of prayer with others. Of course, God is with […]

A Praying Spirit: Different Levels

posted by mpratt

If your prayer life has become a bit monotonous, or if you think you’re not making progress in your attempts at conversation with God, try varying your levels of prayer. What do I mean by levels? Think pace, height, and […]

A Praying Spirit: What do you do with your hands?

posted by mpratt

Our hands are so very expressive! In our daily lives, our hands lifty, carry, work, and play. They soothe the aches of others, and they keep the beat during a particularly lively song. Have you ever thought about how those […]

A Praying Spirit: Do you forget, sometimes?

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Chronic Illness: Does Ebola Scare You?

posted by mpratt

It 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, […]

A Praying Spirit: Beyond Words

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, our prayer needs to go beyond word to a place in the heart and soul that is undefined, untethered. Instrumental music can help get there, and we can enhance our prayer by inviting music into our prayer habit. Here […]

A Praying Spirit: How long, oh, Lord?

posted by mpratt

How long is just right when it comes to prayer time? We have so many suggestions to choose from! Some of our friends might say they set aside a few minutes a day to pray, putting this time into their […]

A Praying Spirit: Too Many Requests?

posted by mpratt

How long is your prayer list?  Mine is lines long, full of requests from individuals, from my heart, and for the world around. Issues crop up every day and, yup, they get added to the list. Do you feel as […]

New Weekly Feature: TLC Tuesdays!

posted by mpratt

Tuesday can be a neglected day of the week. Most of the others have some kind of identity, but poor little Tuesday can be left out. Beginning today, each Tuesday will be “TLC Tuesday” on my blog. No matter if […]

Vietnam War: A Memory for Today

posted by mpratt

Tucked in a box amid other QSL cards that I found after my father’s death last year is a single, fading reminder of a powerful way to pray today. If you’re not familiar with what they are, a QSL card […]

Scripture: Sometimes, I Have to Laugh

posted by mpratt

I once told someone that I find much humor in the Bible, that I even laughed sometimes, as I read it. She looked at me as if I’d spoken heresy, and mumbled, “I can’t imagine…” I didn’t mean that I […]

Prayer for When You See the Storm Coming

posted by mpratt

Some storms hit us without warning, and they can be devastating, to be sure. But when we see the storms looming, coming at us, even before we feel their physical effects, we can sense our stress mounting. Here is a […]

Sabotaging Your Health?

posted by mpratt

You’re upset over a new diagnosis, and you reach for the package of cookies. You know you shouldn’t eat them; your blood sugar’s been like a roller coaster lately. But it’s as if you’re on auto-pilot. Upset + availability of cookies […]

Stress buster: Tips for those long waits in doctors’ offices

posted by mpratt

Oooh, they’re getting longer, not shorter, those waits in doctors’ offices. And, if you’ve exhausted all those rat-eared magazines and examined drab artwork long enough, you’re probably feeling impatient, patient. Edgy, perhaps. Or, even angry. But, wait! (as if you […]

Prayer for an Unknown Person

posted by mpratt

Dear Heavenly Father, Yesterday I saw a person who seemed troubled. We did not exchange a word, but I saw within weary eyes, a very weak light. I do not know what this person is enduring, nor do I have […]

Why Centering Prayer Is So Important

posted by mpratt

If you’re like me, you find that your prayer list gets longer each day. World problems, individual petitions, personal prayers – we skip around this globe quite a lot when we sit down to have our quiet time with God. […]

Finding time for God

posted by mpratt

He’s with us every moment of our lives. In fact, He knew us before we were born. He knows what we do, think, and feel. And he knows what we pray for even before we ask. So how is it […]

Clearing the air

posted by mpratt

A recent rain brought crisp, clean air to Southern California. What a blessing! Before the deluge, it seemed as if there was a pall of dust over and around. Now, it’s a joy to breathe deeply and enjoy the outdoor […]

Up to the test

posted by mpratt

The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the tester of hearts is the Lord Proverbs 17: 3   Living with illness and pain can seem like one, long, test. And, in many ways, it is. These challenges […]

Lent’s Call

posted by mpratt

Happy the people who know you, Lord, who walk in the radiance of your face.     Psalm 89:16   Happy Lent to you! Happy?  Lent? You might ask. Yes, a very happy Lent. Because we can feel a bit […]

Be gentle – to yourself

posted by mpratt

A friend and I were going to get together, but she ended up in bed with the flu.  She was “really, really sorry” that our plans couldn’t work out. But, “Be gentle to yourself,” I told her. All else can […]

Someone is waiting for you

posted by mpratt

February’s focus on Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people who are isolated because of illness and pain. For some, even if they are surrounded by family and friends, they can feel lonely because of their physical limitations, depression, […]

Your Olympic season

posted by mpratt

If you read the title of this blog post and laughed, you’re not alone. Many people simply do not think of themselves as athletic, let alone Olympic caliber. But if you’ve lived awhile with the challenges of chronic illness and […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Holiday Budget Blues

posted by mpratt

A harsh reality of life with chronic illness and pain is that it is expensive both in terms of what it costs medically (doc visits, medications, etc.) and productively (perhaps you cannot work as much anymore, or at all and […]

Tips for the Caroling Coward

posted by mpratt

Are you the one who hangs back in the crowd, hoping that no one can hear you croak as others carol? Do you pretend to not be able to find the right page in the hymnal as others are singing […]

The greater the cheer, the greater the pain?

posted by mpratt

If you have felt great loss this year, or if your health challenges are weighing heavily upon your spirit and life, the “cheer” that accompanies this season can be particularly difficult to be around.  In fact, the great the cheer […]

Peace at home is peace at heart

posted by mpratt

Soft rain is pattering against the roof, punctuated by the occasional seagull screeching in flight.  The Christmas music is on. The tree is lit. It’s a fittingly quiet day after a very good Thanksgiving – and a blessedly peaceful one, […]

Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s: Does It Matter What You Say?

posted by mpratt

I have heard from a few people with relatives in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, and some have asked, “Does it matter what you say?”  This seems to come up especially with regard to general conversation and prayer: With the […]

What If God Says, “No?”

posted by mpratt

For the past several weeks, Sundays have been the only days when I can truly rest. The rest of the days of these weeks have been jammed with doctor’s appointments, other responsibilities, and increasingly crushing fatigue. So, I’ve been observing […]

Supersizing Our Lives

posted by mpratt

On a walk recently, I passed by a recently-renovated neighorhood fast food restaurant. Emblazoned on the roof was a banner that invited all to try “our double drive-thru!” A “double drive-thru?” Hmm… Do we order in two parts? Order side-by-side […]

See Jesus

posted by mpratt

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:16:21, we read about the storm on the sea. The disciples were out on the sea in a boat, and a terrible storm blew up. We read, “When they had rowed about three or […]

Is It Hard to Read the Signs?

posted by mpratt

One day, I noticed these signs on a street in a quiet residential neighborhood where, most days, little traffic flows. I couldnt’ resist taking a picture – such a complicated set of do’s and don’t’s when, I’d imagine, simplicity would […]

Chronic Illness: Find Your Spark Again!

posted by mpratt

Inside each of us, there is a light. But somedays, it seems as if that light has burnt out. When that happens in our homes or offices, we buy another and replace the old with the new. It’s not quite the […]

Boston Then and Now: When Life Changes in an Instant

posted by mpratt

Everyone who ran, everyone who watched, indeed everyone who has heard of what happened in Boston on Monday will never forget. And those who were injured – emotionally or physically – will carry images, emotions, and perhaps physical reminders of […]

Chronic Illness: Taking Charge

posted by mpratt

The first book about chronic illness that I wrote, with rheumatologist David Hallegua, MD, was called “Taking Charge of Lupus: How to Manage the Disease and Make the Most of Your Life.” This was not the book’s original title; I’d […]

Chronic Illness: Finding “Peace in the Storm”

posted by mpratt

My book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness” will celebrate 8 years in print this month! It’s been wonderful to see the book still find its audience: those who live with chronic pain and illness and […]

Moments of “Holy” in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Lent is almost over, and soon we will be raising our voices to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and a renewed sense of faith and optimism. In these last days of Lent 2013, I find myself doubling up […]

Chronic Illness: Seeking Answers

posted by mpratt

The process of getting a diagnosis for some illnesses can be fairly straightforward. But for some it can take years of testing and perseverance. Some lupus patients I know went 5+ years before their doctors determined the reason for their […]

Chronic Illness: What Is ‘Successful’ Prayer?

posted by mpratt

We do live in a competitive, success-driven society!  I once heard someone say that she had prayed for a cure for her kidney-involved lupus and her prayer was successful; she believed she was cured completely, lupus-free, although her kidneys were […]

Lent 2013: The Grace in Pain

posted by mpratt

So far, this has been a more painful Lent than usual. Lung inflammation, joint pain – ah, lupus! The twinges, aches, and stabs sure make pain immediately present. And one of the things I’m trying to do when they occur […]

Chronic Illness: Wearing Our Pain

posted by mpratt

Ash Wednesday always seems like a contradiction to me. On the one hand, as a Christian, joyful in the spirit, I appreciate and honor Our Lord’s words of wisdom: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They […]

Prejudice – To Those Who Are Annoyed or Put Off

posted by mpratt

As a companion blog to “Prejudice – How We Cope,” I thought this might respond to those on the other side of chronic pain and illness: “To those who may be annoyed, put off, or otherwise inconvenienced by people with chronic […]

Prejudice – and How We Cope

posted by mpratt

A recent news story about a waiter who refused to serve customers who made derogatory comments about a special needs child in a restaurant really hit home for me. How unusual – and refreshing – that an able-bodied person unrelated […]

A Bumpy Start Doesn’t Have to Mean a Bad New Year Is Ahead

posted by mpratt

This new year, like many before, stretches ahead with promise and, I’m sure, lots of good days ahead. But it has begun a bit on the bumpy side. Holiday travel stirred up more than the usual aches and pains, some […]

Prayer for a New Year

posted by mpratt

Heavenly Father, you are with us now, Walking alongside us as we move into a new year. We are eager for all of the uplifting and inspiring things in store, But fearful, too, about the difficult times that are part of life. […]

Advent 2012: Is Your Family Broken?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 22: Is your family broken? Often, we hear about people coming from broken homes, where parents decide to live apart and children may be shuttled from one to the other. But, today’s question isn’t about broken homes, it […]

Advent 2012: What’s Stirring Within?

posted by mpratt

  Advent Day 18:  What’s stirring within? You’ve been working so hard for almost three weeks. Preparations for Christmas. Perhaps, travel. Visits with family and friends. Work. School. Health. And Advent. Many of your activities have been external, and you’ve […]

Advent 2012: Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays?

posted by mpratt

  Advent Day 17:  Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays? I’ve heard that the flu season has arrived early this year, and with is comes the “stop-you-in-your-tracks” possibility of being ill during this festive season. If you do not have […]

Advent 2012: What about You?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 10: What about you? Rise early. Hurry up. Juggle.  Add one, two, three more things to your list. Retire late. Repeat tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. Still two weeks away from Christmas, and you might already be feeling […]

Alzheimer’s Disease: You, an Advocate?

posted by mpratt

Before this year, I have to admit that being an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease was not on my list of things to do. I was aware of the disease, had written a few columns about it, and had known people […]

Prayer: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This horrible scourge affects people at all levels of society and, although women are most often the victims of domestic violence, many children and men suffer, too.  Here is a prayer to accompany this […]

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posted 1:34:55am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: What If You Didn't Have God?
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posted 11:34:47pm Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

It Doesn't Take Much to Care
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posted 7:34:08pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness and Pain: Discerning Who to Tell What
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posted 7:21:50pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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posted 1:16:47am Jun. 23, 2015 | read full post »

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