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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

For Our Health Archives

Chronic Illness and Pain: Discerning Who to Tell What

posted by mpratt

As we journey through our lives with chronic pain and illness, we undoubtedly will come across people who ask us “How are you?” Some are truly caring and want to be empathetic and/or reach out with help. Others are being […]

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Chronic Pain: Going into the Wilderness

posted by mpratt

Ah! Wilderness! I’ve always like that title for a book or a play. Not so fond of it as a description of what it’s like to live with chronic pain. But, so often,that is what it is like. Wilderness. Stark. Deserted. […]

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Chronic Illness: When You Really Accomplish Something

posted by mpratt

Oh, what a great feeling it is when you really accomplish something – despite all the challenges and setbacks that chronic illness can bring! It’s a remarkable boost, even if you’re really spent afterward, to be able to look back […]

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Chronic Illness: Cleaning House

posted by mpratt

Life with a chronic illness can be cluttered quickly. There are all of those unused or partially used prescription bottles that litter our medicine drawers – oh, the ridiculousness of having to fill a whole prescription only to discover you’re […]

Chronic Pain: When It Seems As If You’re Playing A Losing Game

posted by mpratt

Lately, my pain experience has been much like playing that arcade game where you hold a hammer and wait for a thing – sometimes an artificial mole, sometimes something else – to pop up from one of the many holes […]

TLC Tuesday: Accept No Substitutes!

posted by mpratt

“I’ll go to the gym instead of taking a nap – I’ll feel more energy afterward.” “I’ll get this report done before I call a friend; I’ll have time later.” “I take this easier class instead of the hard one; […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: All Tied Up in Ribbons?

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Chronic Illness: Compose Yourself!

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Lupus and the Sun and Other Light

posted by mpratt

It happened again! I went to a restaurant and the server asked me how I kept my complexion so clear. “You have great skin,” she said. “What’s the secret?” Ah! I love that question. Not out of some kind of […]

Chronic Pain and Illness: Priorities, Priorities

posted by mpratt

If you find it difficult to prioritize responsibilities and activities while juggling the effects of life with chronic pain and illness, you’re not alone. I do, too, and sometimes I feel akin to a circus act – wondering if I’ll […]

Chronic Illness: Keeping Current

posted by mpratt

Seems like each day, one or more of my apps or computer programs has to be updated. And, sometimes, a single app or program updates more than once. Of course, most times, it’s important to keep these tools updated, but […]

TLC Tuesday: It’s All Right

posted by mpratt

Is there a Teddy Bear in your closet? On a shelf in your living room? Or, (horrible thought) in a box in storage? You know what? It’s time. Maybe past time. It’s all right to let that Teddy Bear out! […]

The Power of the Nap

posted by mpratt

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, one of the things I learned was that the fatigue of a flare can be overwhelming. “Bone-numbing” is a description I’ve used a lot to try to help others understand how beyond-tired I […]

Chronic Pain and Illness: Who Is By Your Side?

posted by mpratt

Long days of illness can wear on us, and often make us feel as if we are navigating choppy waters in a leaky boat all by ourselves. How well I know the feeling when I’m especially ill of the hours […]

Good Friday: Walking the Walk

posted by mpratt

I don’t think any of us enjoys the physical pain and other hurt that chronic illness brings. In fact, at times, we might absolutely detest it, wishing we were anyone other than the broken body that plagues us with constant […]

Chronic Illness, Dining Out, and Holy Thursday

posted by mpratt

For those who are healthy, dining out can be pure pleasure. You get to select from a wide array of foods, you don’t have to labor in the kitchen to prepare your meal, and you don’t have to clean up […]

TLC Tuesday: Be Veronica

posted by mpratt

t. Veronica is said to have lived in the first century A.D., and according to early accounts, she took pity on Jesus as he made his way to Calvary and wiped his face tenderly with her veil. Afterward, according to […]

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 […]

Food for Thought: Participatory Humor

posted by mpratt

The old saying goes, “Laughter is contagious,” and so often, we discover that’s true. Someone in a meeting starts to giggle. He or she happens to glance over at a coworker, and that person “catches” the giggle, tries to stifle […]

Chronic Illness: Waiting?

posted by mpratt

The last time you went into a bad flare, did you wait to go to the doctor? Wait until someone said, “Gee, you really don’t look all that good.” or, worse, “I’m taking you to the doctor NOW! you’ve waited […]

TLC Tuesday: Important Fashion News

posted by mpratt

So, spring is coming (yes, truly it is!) and we’re beginning to see what’s going to be in fashion during the warmer months. But, if you live with a serious illness or other major responsibility, you might cringe a bit […]

Chronic Illness: The Beautiful Thing About Life

posted by mpratt

I know, I know! How well I know! It can be difficult to imagine that life with chronic illness is beautiful. Those of you living the life, you understand what I’m saying. Those who aren’t, well, I’ll spare you the […]

TLC Tuesday: Thaw Out!

posted by mpratt

For many people, this winter has been brutal. Snow, ice, and, especially, frigid temperatures. Many people have been without power, help to clear mountains of snow, and low on food and other supplies. As we think about spring, we think […]

Food for Thought: What You Hear in Silence

posted by mpratt

We can learn much, when we cultivate silence. It might seem counter-intuitive; our learning usually takes the form of words or pictures or sounds, tangible things that have size, depth, tone, and space. But beyond all of those things that […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Letting Your Guard Down

posted by mpratt

I’ve had to increase the dosage of the immunosuppressive drug I’m taking for my lupus and anti-retinal antibodies. This makes me even more susceptible to infections – at a time when the flu season is just kicking into high gear! […]

Food for Thought: Sifting through All That Info!

posted by mpratt

When you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness especially one that is very serious and affects many aspects of your life, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount and variety of information available to you. The moment you leave the doctor’s […]

A Praying Spirit: From the General to the Specific

posted by mpratt

If you are rushed, tired, angry, or in great pain when you pray, you might find that your prayers are more general than specific. For example, “Please, Lord, take away my pain,” or “Please help all those who are suffering.” […]

A Day-full of Devotionals?

posted by mpratt

It’s been building up over the past few years, but this year, it seems to truly be turning into a swift and powerful waterfall – it’s the number of devotionals available to us, especially those to observe during Lent! And […]

Food for Thought: Good Input, Excellent Outlook

posted by mpratt

These days, I have often found the following Scripture verse coming to mind: “Do not conformyourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is […]

TLC Tuesday: Learning to Laugh – At Ourselves!

posted by mpratt

There’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 […]

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 […]

Chronic Pain: Catching Your Breath on the Roller Coaster Ride

posted by mpratt

It isn’t often that we get a lull in the “medical” action during our lives with chronic pain. In fact, such moments, brief or long, might take us by complete suprise – and we don’t fully realize them until they’re […]

Chronic Pain and Illness: How We Do It All

posted by mpratt

When I talk with people about what I do, their response is frequently, “How do you fit it all into a day?” My response, generally, is, “I don’t.” The concept of “a day” is very different for those of us […]

TLC Tuesday: Snowed In But Not Snowed Under

posted by mpratt

As I write this, a light breeze is tickling the fronds of the palm trees outside my window. The sun is shining – a bright spot after some gentle rain last night. It’s warm enough for a walk later today. […]

Chronic Illness: Recycling God’s Love

posted by mpratt

It was shortly after January 1, and I was feeling frazzled after a long round of errands. Traffic was thick and so were the crowds inside the stores once I got into them. But perhaps most irritating were the old […]

Chronic Illness: How Can You Have Hope When They Say, ‘There’s Nothing More We Can Do’?

posted by mpratt

Toward the end of last year, I received an email from one of the patient advocacy groups I keep informed of. It said that a lupus drug had failed in trials and was being scrapped – but not to lose […]

TLC Tuesday: Picking up the Pieces

posted by mpratt

Pine needles are scattered down the hallway, a stray ornament has rolled under a living room table. The manger scene will remain on my piano through Epiphany and then it, too, will be stowed away until next/this Christmas. The time […]

Food for Thought: Given a Precious Gift

posted by mpratt

I’m fascinated by how, after Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead, those devoted to Jesus did not scatter like cowards, fearing they would be next to die on the cross. Rather, they gathered in an “upper room” […]

A Praying Spirit: Keep Light

posted by mpratt

After Christmas, we take down our tree and the lights that adorn it. We stow away our Advent wreath, and perhaps stow away partially-used candles. We remove decorations, including lights around our windows and doors. And we might find the […]

TLC Tuesday: If You’re Working through the Holidays

posted by mpratt

So often, we hear about “holidays” and “vacations” in the same breath that we forget that so many people might not be so fortunate as to have time off this week or next. There are the obvious workers : the […]

Chronic Illness: Too Tired Too Soon?

posted by mpratt

Wow, I am behind. Behind in decorating, doing, and all else having to do with the holidays.  Too soon this Season, I’m feeling that bone-deep fatigue that comes with lupus, anemia (just found out about that), and activity.  Steer me […]

TLC Tuesday: Let a Song In

posted by mpratt

I like to drive with music on. A CD or a radio station – doesn’t matter as long as the music is good. But when I really want to benefit from the power and inspiration of music, I don’t do […]

Food for Thought: Revisiting Rudolph

posted by mpratt

I feel a particular affinity for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, especially the claymation television special. It aired for the first time 50 years ago and has been a favorite for millions since. I even have a Christmas tree ornament depicting […]

Chronic Illness: Just a Moment of Peace

posted by mpratt

Wish you had just a moment of comfort in the midst of your tough day? Wish you had just a moment of peace? Life during this holiday season is packed with activity, and if you’re living with a chronic health […]

TLC Tuesday: Listen to the Rain

posted by mpratt

Praise God! It’s raining! Or, if it isn’t where you are, something weather-wise is happening. Snow, perhaps, or a gentle breeze? Nippy chill or frigid temps that force you to be warm and keep warm. Whatever the weather today, take […]

Food for Thought: The Theory of Everything, Part Two

posted by mpratt

The movie, “The Theory of Everything,” about the early and mid-lives of Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane, stirs up a lot of discussion about love, commitment, and life, especially marriage, where one spouse has a serious, life-altering, illness. As […]

TLC Tuesday: Stretch Yourself!

posted by mpratt

Feeling cramped? Confined? Constrained? Feel like you’re boxed up in a little corner of an even littler space? Times like this, you might want to think about stretching yourself! Physically, with all the sitting we do at work and home, […]

TLC Tuesday: A Breath of Fresh Air

posted by mpratt

Today, give yourself a breath of fresh air. Not just a shallow, timid gasp. A full-fledged, rejuvenating intake of blessed and cleansing oxygen. When we’re busy or tense, stressed or preocuppied, we might ignore the simple ways that we can […]

Chronic Illness: All Right to Ask

posted by mpratt

Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment. The nurse who took me into the examination room did not wash her hands before moving to start my eye exam. The nurse who took me into another examination room immediately after a couple […]

Food for Thought: Read a Saint’s Own Words

posted by mpratt

You’ve probably read about many of the Saints and saints – those holy men and women who have been canonized in the Catholic Church, and those people who have lived exemplary lives of faith. All are inspirations for us – […]

When you think, “Can’t I have just one good day?”

posted by mpratt

If you are really down, and challenges are heaping themselves upon challenges, then you might find yourself thinking, “Can’t I have just one good day?” Yup, I’ve been there myself -and it’s okay to ask that question, borne of frustration […]

TLC Tuesday: Feeling De-feet?

posted by mpratt

Ah, the bliss of putting my feet up! Throughout the day, our feet take a beating. And if we have joint issues “higher up,” in the knees, for example, or the hips, those precious feet can truly begin to feel […]

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, […]

When You Have to Relearn Basic Skills

posted by mpratt

Eating. Walking. Breathing. These and other “basic skills” are second nature to many of us. Or, perhaps, not. Sometimes, a chronic health condition requires us to relearn what we thought we already knew how to do. And it can be […]

TLC Tuesday: Give Yourself 15 Minutes!

posted by mpratt

Lights! Camera! Action! Today, TLC Tuesday, give yourself 15 minutes – 15 minutes, that is, of time during which you report on and spotlight all of the things you’re doing right. Don’t let one, single, negative action or word creep […]

TLC Tuesday: Find What You Love About Yourself

posted by mpratt

Our bodies change. Our spirits are challenged. Our “regular” lives become almost unrecognizable. When we think nothing more can happen health-wise to bring change, well, something does! When you have a serious chronic illness, there is much about ourselves that […]

New Podcast Chat with Sean Herriott

posted by mpratt

Sean Herriott is the former host of Relevant Radio (Catholic Radio)’s morning program, “Morning Air.” Over the past several years, I was a regular guest on Sean’s program, talking about health and faith an all sorts of topics. He now […]

Chronic Illness: Too Many Moving Parts? Here’s Help!

posted by mpratt

  This doc wants bloodwork and so does that doc, but the appointments aren’t on the same day, so you end up with 2 sticks instead of one. Then, the first doc needs more blood and another test, and a […]

TLC Tuesday: Look for Light

posted by mpratt

“One more doctor visit” bringing you down? Last week, I had two doc visits in one day, both of which were delayed and difficult. But, at the second one, a “God thing” happened – An older woman, using a walker, […]

Chronic Illness: When Everyone Has Their Own Ideas

posted by mpratt

Don’t you just know, one person’s rheumatoid arthritis is another’s “Oh, it’s just aches and pains?” Or, one person’s propensity to infection is another’s “Don’t worry, I only have a little cold, you can be around me.” Or, one person’s […]

Chronic Pain: How Can You Feel Like You Belong?

posted by mpratt

Loneliness is one of the hardest things to conquer for many people living with chronic pain. But sometimes, it is not so much the feeling of being alone as it is the feeling of not belonging – belonging to a […]

Chronic Illness: Worship and Contagion

posted by mpratt

My immune system is, once again, in overdrive and making new and serious antibodies, among them to my retinas. I’ve had to begin a more aggressive form of treatment, and it will make me more susceptible to infection. As a […]

TLC Tuesday: Banish the Guilt!

posted by mpratt

You have to rest, you have to take care…but your stomach cringes and you find yourself close to criticizing yourself for being lazy…Please, dear friend, banish the guilt! Yes, at times, you might feel guilty that you are taking care […]

It’s Grandparent’s Day!

posted by mpratt

I am not a grandparent, nor are my grandparents living, but I delight in the joy of friends and others who have eased from parenthood to grandparenthood (and I smile at friends who cannot wait until they will become grandparents, […]

Chronic Pain: A Goodness within You

posted by mpratt

Pain is like a very nasty weed. Its roots run deep, its leaves spread wide and block out light. It can take over and make all things good seem distant, unreachable. But just as pain is within, so, too, is […]

Refreshing Exercise

posted by mpratt

True confession: I was never fond of exercise. In fact, I used every excuse not to exercise way back in high school. Now, of course, I understand the benefits much better than I did then, and I also like exercising – […]

TLC Tuesday: Slow down!

posted by mpratt

It’s TLC Tuesday, again. But it’s also probably the heart of “Back to…” season. Back to school, back to work, back to lots and lots of activities. Yes, activities, and, probably, a lot more stress, a lot more “Hurry up!” […]

Chronic Pain: Lost and Found

posted by mpratt

Somewhere, amid the pain and the frustration we feel over lost health and today’s health trials, there are bright, uplifting memories we’ve lost track of, times when life was easier or days when we heard and enjoyed laughter, did good […]

Chronic Illness: Embracing smooth sailing!

posted by mpratt

Like the calm before the storm, or the comfort before the next flare, the period of relatively “smooth sailing” can be a bit nerve-wracking. We know that “chronic” means ongoing, and have had flares rise up unexpectedly in the past. […]

TLC Tuesday: What if you missed Tuesday?

posted by mpratt

If you have a chronic illness or live with serious pain, you know that sometimes, you “miss” a day or two in the week. It’s too hard to get out of bed. You are going through medical tests, and the […]

Chronic Illness: If You Were Not You

posted by mpratt

One of the techniques I try to use whenever I’m in a quandry over something regarding my health is to ask, “What if I were not me? What if I were my mother? My sister? My friend? What would I […]

Prayer for Grace-full Aging

posted by mpratt

Whether your day has passed or is coming up, we all will age one more year this year and onward. We cannot turn back the clock, but we can turn on grace as we move ahead. Here’s a prayer for […]

TLC Tuesday: Laugh!

posted by mpratt

Oh, yes, I know about the scientific studies and the group research touting its benefits. I know all about the mechanics and the music of it. But sometimes, it is difficult to find the gift and the boost of laughter. […]

Chronic illness: Forming our destinies

posted by mpratt

One of my favorite subjects was and still is history. I think we can learn a lot about our todays and our futures by learning from the past. For example – think about how hard life was in the 18th […]

Chronic Pain: For the Birds!

posted by mpratt

Seagulls regularly land on my skylights and attempt to crack open shells. Invariably, they make a ruckus! But they also tend to lose their footing rather quicky and slide down, making a screeching noise reminiscent of fingers on chalkboard. Does […]

Chronic illness: Sweating it out

posted by mpratt

During long days at high school band practice, baking under the blazing August sun and sweating buckets, I learned the importance of hydration – replacing the fluid our bodies lose under such circumstances.  Water, sports’ drinks, whatever our doctors tell […]

TLC Tuesday: Gently, Gently

posted by mpratt

A harsh word, a sudden move, an angry outburst – we’ve all made them and felt them from others. Not uplifting or comforting, these brusk and sometimes brutal actions. For today’s TLC Tuesday, the word and action is “gently.” Gently […]

Chronic Pain: Are you a camel?

posted by mpratt

Some days, I just hurt. I hurt so badly that it’s difficult to tell where the pain is coming from, let alone what to do to make it better. Some days, there’s no easy way around or through it. We […]

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 […]

Chronic Illness: A Full-time Job

posted by mpratt

I get a little tongue-tied sometimes when people ask me what I do. Not that writing isn’t the first thing that pops into my head. But, I have to think too, of the other job, the other full-time job: managing life with […]

Wear is your best?

posted by mpratt

“Why don’t you wear that lovely ewelry/that dress/those shoes more often? “Oh, it’s too good to wear everyday. I only save it for special occasions.” “So, when was the last time you wore it?” “Oh, it’s been so long, I can’t […]

Writing about chronic illness and pain

posted by mpratt

Frequently, people will tell me that they want to write a book about their experience with chronic illness and pain. When they ask me for advice, I give them a response that’s probably not what they’re expecting. Instead of talking […]

Chronic Pain: Help for the Directionally Challenged

posted by mpratt

It’s better. It’s worse. It moved. It’s stable. It’s sharp. It’s dull. It’s pain. And it is a pain, your pain. Well, it’s affecting you, but you can’t say you actually possess it, because it seems to have a mind – and a […]

Giving when you think you don’t have anything to give

posted by mpratt

I understand the Scriptural basis for tithing and giving monetarily to church and charitable causes. I know, clearly, the story of the widow who gave her precious coin to the Temple. But the truth is that, today, living with a […]

This is the day

posted by mpratt

Imagine if you gave a good friend a present, all wrapped up and shining in the light. What if that friend, instead of opening the package, set it aside. He or she tells you, “Oh, thanks. But I’ll get to […]

Chronic Illness: How do you describe it, exactly?

posted by mpratt

Time often flies by when you’re living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower […]

Chronic Illness: Managing the Munchies

posted by mpratt

I really, really, really like chocolate. Chocolate and almonds. Or, just chocolate. And yet, I know how bad it can be if I over-indulge. Extra weight on lupus-arthritic joints can add pain on top of pain. So, I try to […]

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual

posted by mpratt

I’m typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month’s journey – again – to determine “once and for all” the reason why I don’t hold onto iron. For years, I’ve dealt with iron levels that get lower […]

Let’s Hear It for Christmas in July!

posted by mpratt

I used to think that “Christmas in July” events were only commercial enterprises, destined to convince people to “shop now!” or “buy now!” But, this year, I’m embracing “Christmas in July” for what it truly can be – a reminder […]

Chronic illness: If you think you cannot believe

posted by mpratt

I’ve said many times that I cannot imagine facing my health challenges without faith. Many other people I know feel the same way; they rely on God throughout every trial, and every praiseful moment, too. But, what if you cannot […]

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 […]

To Be Encouraged, Encourage Someone Else

posted by mpratt

Time and again, I’ve seen the amazing transformation in someone who is deeply suffering (whether with pain, illness, or other pressures), when they receive a kind, uplifting, or unexpectedly positive remark from someone else. Part of this is, I think, […]

Happy Independence Day!

posted by mpratt

Happy Independence Day – and Independence Day Weekend! I hope you enjoy your celebration, however you manage to commemorate the day. This year, I have been reflecting on the concept of “independence” day, both for this country and for life […]

Chronic Illness: History Matters

posted by mpratt

During this week of celebrating our nation’s independence, we hear a lot about the importance of history.  Learning about the past is one of my favorite things; from an early age, I have enjoyed reading historical topics, learning about people […]

Chronic illness: Nurturing Creativity

posted by mpratt

Whether it’s juggling the household budget so you can keep a roof over your head and maintain your medical needs, or it’s learning to live differently from “before illness,” and thrive, we who have chronic illness must often rely on […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Pet Friendly

posted by mpratt

This weekend marks the 18th anniversary of…drum roll please…My fish tank! Although I really enjoy them, I’m allergic to dogs and cats (and horses and, well, just about anything else that moves about…), so fish are the obvious choice for […]

Chronic illness: Wading into unknown territory

posted by mpratt

It’s never just a “common cold,” is it? Well, for some people, it is. But for many of us lupies and people with other orphan or rare illnesses, the “always sometime new” often turns out to be something so very […]

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 […]

Under the eyes of a watchful, loving God

posted by mpratt

So often I hear one or more people living with illness or pain say, “Why did God let this happen?” As many of you probably already know, I tend to take an “illness is neither bad nor good, it just […]

Chronic illness and gardening: Learning to Grow

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard it said that, “as we grow, we learn.” Well, I’m finding out things a bit differently: “As I learn, I grow.” Lupus requires that I don’t spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially during the sunniest times […]

Coping with chronic illlness: Sorting it all out

posted by mpratt

Living with chronic illness is hard, but sorting through all the symptoms to communicate with our doctors can be even tougher, sometimes. For example, perhaps you feel tired. Is it the same kind of tired as when your illness flares? […]

Chronic Pain: Many ways to say, “Hallelujah!”

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, praising God is tough. Physical pain can make it impossible to lift a limb, let alone raise hands to heaven. Emotions might be anything other than joy-filled. And spirits can sag, especially as life with chronic pain goes on […]

Living with chronic illness: How do you respond to the world?

posted by mpratt

No doubt about it, there are lots of problems in our world. Close to home and far away, the news of the day is full of strife, violence, awful issues, and injustices. But even closer to home is your and […]

A Beautiful Flag Day to You!

posted by mpratt

I’m not much for awareness ribbons. There are so many of them, now, and of so many different colors, that I’m at sea as to which is which. I am, however, very appreciative of the flag, particularly the flag of […]

Lupus: One thing after another

posted by mpratt

It’s hard for many people to understand the “whack-a-mole”-like life that is life with lupus. There are some lupies among us with relatively mild disease and for whom some treatment provides longer-term relief. But there are some of us…Well, it’s […]

Stress buster: A thankful spirit

posted by mpratt

How often do you give thanks each day? I try to sprinkle liberal doses of thanks throughout mine. And, besides the obvious – that thanks is a prayer to God that I am grateful for even the smallest thing in my […]

Chronic Pain Coping: Naming Your Pain

posted by mpratt

Okay, I confess to a bit of juvenile fun. Plants, fish, even the hummingbird that visits each year – I have a name for them all. Even if it is “Silly” or “Birdie,” each flitting, swimming, and growing thing gets […]

Stress buster: The stress within

posted by mpratt

So often, we talk about stress as something that comes to us from without. Traffic, work, a new diagnosis, disappointment over how a loved one reacts to our illness, or other factors happen outside of us and can stir up […]

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 […]

Wisdom from Romans

posted by mpratt

Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. —Romans 12:2 Sometimes, don’t you just feel […]

Living Lupus: Summer in the Sun (Not!)

posted by mpratt

One of the things that can be very damaging to lupus patients is something that many people are already enjoying to the hilt in the early summertime: Basking in the glow and warmth of the sun. Unfortunately for many of […]

Chronic Illness: Developing a Fighting Spirit

posted by mpratt

Oh, my word, another diagnosis. Just when I thought I’d “collected the whole set” of lupus-related, autoimmune illnesses, I’ve been given another. And with it is another medication, monitoring by another specialist, and all the other things that go with […]

Illness: Is God Punishing You?

posted by mpratt

Early on in my journey with lupus, a Christian said to me, “You’re not cured because you’re not faithful enough.” When I challenged her on this, she said that she though God was punishing me for my “lack of belief!” […]

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 […]

Lupus: Is Celebrating the Survivors Unrealistic?

posted by mpratt

I was once told by a person in a responsible position in a patient advocacy organization to “be positive, let them know that lupus isn’t all that bad. Don’t be negative.” The message this well-meaning person seemed to want was […]

Finding Something Good

posted by mpratt

A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; Good news invigorates the bones. Proverbs 16:30 Whether personal or of the world, there is no lack of bad news feeding our lives and hearts. Of late, I’m facing a couple of […]

Fatigue and Friends

posted by mpratt

May is Lupus Awareness Month. For those of us with lupus, it might seem beside-the-point; it’s almost impossible to have lupus and not be aware of it each day, not only in May! I’m not going to go into “what […]

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. […]

Thank you, Mom!

posted by mpratt

We give flowers, gifts, meals. We make visits and phone calls. We hug them, help them, maybe even harmonize with them – remembering a lullaby or other song from our childhood. But, what can we say for all they’ve done […]

Prayer When You Hit a Dead End

posted by mpratt

Oh, Lord, I’ve been told that there is nothing that can be done, that I’ve run out of options, that I’ve hit a dead end. But I know that you, Lord, are endless, timeless, all-knowing and all-loving. I know, too, […]

A Moment with Meerkats

posted by mpratt

I’m forever marveling at the wonderful diversity of God’s creation, especially in the animal kingdom. Meerkats, in particular, are fascinating to me. They live very active, sometimes, frantic lives, taking care of life in their communities, dodging predators, searching for […]

Expressing Sorrow at Lost Health

posted by mpratt

It’s all right, now, this moment. You feel so very sorrowful that your health is lost. Everyone’s telling you to “be strong,” “have faith,” “be positive.” But all you feel like doing right now is crying. And, it’s all right, […]

Living with Heredity

posted by mpratt

Well, I’m nearly 15 years into my diagnosis of lupus, and “they” still don’t know what causes it, really. Sunlight can trigger it in some people, and certain medications can bring on drug-induced lupus. But beyond that, well, it’s pretty […]

When You Feel Like Going Back in Time

posted by mpratt

At some point during life with chronic illness, you feel like going back to the time “before.” Before your diagnosis. Before the disease or health condition took away so much of what you used to do and were. Maybe, at […]

The Miracle and Mystery of It All

posted by mpratt

It’s so easy to dwell on the pain, illness, and constraints that a chronic health condition imposes on us. So very easy, too, to think of what’s falling apart, what abilities are becoming (or have become) disabilities. But, here I […]

The Best Easter Ever Is Today

posted by mpratt

Oh, no, you might be thinking. Isn’t she a week or so off? Didn’t Easter already happen? Is she calendar-challenged? Not at all! I know that April 20 was Easter Sunday. But the best Easter is today. And tomorrow. And the […]

Sick People Are Easter People, Too!

posted by mpratt

Oh, my but some people have low expectations of us. They think that because we’re sick or in pain, we have to go around looking like we feel. Or, they hesitate to include us in enjoyable activities or allow us […]

Easter Monday: What Next?

posted by mpratt

A hoarse voice from all that praiseful singing, a stray foil wrapper without the chocolate egg, hosiery with the beginning of a run, achy joints from wearing Sunday-best shoes a little too long… It’s Easter Monday, and we’ve celebrated the […]

The Way and the Weight of Your Cross

posted by mpratt

Many times during Holy Week, I think about the way and the weight of the cross that Jesus bore to Calvary. Not only was it a monstrous thing – heavy and cumbersome. But Our Lord had been beaten, scourged, starved, […]

Sharing a Meal

posted by mpratt

Passover and Holy Week’s commemoration of the Last Supper make me think about how we prepare meals today, and how different it was in Jesus’ time. For one thing, the obvious: There were no drive-thrus or microwaves in Jesus’ day, […]

A Prayer for Centering in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Lord, you are all great, all good, and I love you. But I am feeling pulled by cares, noise, and the ways of a worldly world. This week, of all times, please help me to center my thoughts and my […]

Is It Christian to Take Care of Yourself before Others?

posted by mpratt

We are fast approaching the most profoundly Christian time of the year, Holy Week and Easter, during which we will hear again about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, death on the cross, which redeemed us, washing away our sin and opening up […]

The Jewel within You

posted by mpratt

  Those beautiful baubles don’t start out as faceted jewels. Wrenched or blasted out of the ground, gem material (as it’s called) usually has a crust of other mineral material on it, often unattractive ore or dirt. Material that is […]

Can You Be a Peacemaker When You’re at War with Yourself?

posted by mpratt

  We all have heard the Beatitudes, and especially (no doubt) remember, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” In a world of trouble, violence, and anti-faith, this is a tall order!But there’s another thing that makes being a peacemaker in our world […]

Peace in the Storm

posted by mpratt

Nine years has gone by in a flash! April 19, 2005, my book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness,” first appeared in bookstores. I remember holding my first copy, looking at the cover, and wondering, “What […]

Building up Strength

posted by mpratt

A friend about to undergo chemotherapy. An aging parent who is wobbly. You, terrified of the next doctor’s visit and what news you might get. Right now, there are many of us who are anticipating something that will require much […]

Done Something Foolish?

posted by mpratt

In honor of April Fool’s Day, some thoughts about those foolish moments – better known as “Ooops!” We’ve all had them. Those moments (or days, or months…) when we’ve known better, but still… We knew it would be better not to attend a social […]

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 […]

The myth of closure

posted by mpratt

My heart goes out to all those touched by the loss of the Malaysian jetliner, which is said to have crashed into the Indian Ocean with all lives aboard lost. What agony the families and friends must be feeling, collectively […]

Blooming Time!

posted by mpratt

Not long ago, I posted a picture of my season-challenged Christmas cactus. It had bloomed at, when else, Christmas, but for some reason a few weeks ago began producing buds again! Just in time for…Lent?! As sometimes happens with plants, […]

A Prayer for the Restless Spirit

posted by mpratt

For all of you whose spirit is restless and waiting…   Lord, I’ve prayed for a cure, but none has come. I’ve prayed for understanding of “why,” and haven’t received that, either. I sit, stand, and wait, Lord, for your […]

Add a Little Spring!

posted by mpratt

Hallelujah! Today is the first day of Spring! Even if your neighborhood is still digging out from snow, or you have to wear heavy clothing just to go out to get the mail, rest assured, the calendar has spoken – […]

Bumps in the Road?

posted by mpratt

Go to the pharmacy for a 3-month supply of meds. Return home, look in bag, discover a 1-month supply. Phone Pharmacy. Go back to pharmacy for 2-month supply. Sigh! In a life with chronic illness and pain, there will inevitably […]

Meaningful, mirthful minutia

posted by mpratt

In the elevator of my local grocery store, a mother and her young son were already waiting for the doors to close. As I stepped in, the boy, not more than three or four years old, stepped back, toward the […]

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 […]

It doesn’t matter when you bloom!

posted by mpratt

Feeling like life is passing you by because you’re limited by illness and pain? Do you believe you’re too old to try something new, achieve a dream, or simply shine brightly as a beloved child of God because your health […]

Happiness from the Outside, In

posted by mpratt

“Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.”  Samuel Levenson, American humorist (1911-80) My page-a-day Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar often has pithy quotes that stir my thinking. The one above, on Thursday’s page, struck me as tremendously appropriate […]

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 […]

Reminder: No Two Snowflakes Are Alike!

posted by mpratt

This was one of the first things I heard when I was diagnosed with lupus. “Lupies are like snowflakes – no two are alike.” It’s turned out to be a truly wise statement, in myriad ways. And it’s good to […]

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 […]

Having a bad day? Cue the music

posted by mpratt

What is the soundtrack of your life? What songs lift you up? Make you want to move? Make you laugh? Make you cry? What songs do you take with you when you’re going to the doctor’s office? Or, having surgery? […]

Caring and not caring about what others think

posted by mpratt

Illness can be very ugly. Yes, it can be that horrible blot on our lives, and certainly change our appearance in undesirable ways.  And one of the hardest things to handle it is when we’re out in public – or […]

Spring will come

posted by mpratt

A dear friend of mine who also suffers from severe lupus is not a believer. Nevertheless, we share a very profound sense of faith that’s summed up by saying, “Spring will come.” Of course, from my perspective, the phrase relates […]

Never Enough

posted by mpratt

If you’re sick, in pain, and low, you might have heard yourself say, “I don’t have enough support.” or, “I don’t have enough money to get the care that I need.” or, even, “I don’t have enough energy/mobility/resources/hope to feel […]

One, Brief Window?

posted by mpratt

The weight of pain and illness, and the limitations these bring to daily life, can become excruciating, oppressive. But beneath the heavy burden of physical challenges is, often, a glimmer of light. Even if the door to wholeness and health […]

Hearing and Listening

posted by mpratt

“He just didn’t listen to the doctor,” she said to the paramedic as he opened the ambulance door. “He went out there and shoveled that snow anyway.” “I heard the doctor,” he said, lifting his head from the stretcher. “But […]

Love Inside, Love Outside

posted by mpratt

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 […]

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt

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” […]

Dress for success

posted by mpratt

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 […]

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by […]

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, […]

The dust bunnies in our lives

posted by mpratt

Usually at the beginning of the year, I try to de-accession some of my possessions. This year, I made a very serious effort at figuring out what I had that I no longer needed that someone else could benefit from. […]

Willing to teach

posted by mpratt

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about how those people who are ill, infirm, or otherwise in need of care are not burdens on society but rather, they teach others to care. They also allow others to act […]

Just for fun

posted by mpratt

Today is the perfect day to do something just for fun. Actually, every day is perfect, but why not start today? Just because you have a chronic illness or just because my knees buckle doesn’t mean we are unworthy of […]

We teach others to care

posted by mpratt

Every time I hear or read about the “burden” that the ill, frail, and disabled place upon society, I want to scream. The reference is usually made in terms of the financial cost, but it can also be couched as […]

When you think you’ve had enough

posted by mpratt

There’s a curious thing that happens to many writers when they reach the middle of a particular project: They want to turn back, start a new project, or otherwise abandon their current work-in-progress because it seems to be completely fogged […]

You can be contagious!

posted by mpratt

Just as surely as we allow our bad days to make for bad moods and thus make for more isolation than relationships, so, too, on our good days, our lifted spirits can be the spark that makes for the ultimate […]

Lazarus and us

posted by mpratt

What a powerful story of love and God’s power is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead! And what a blessing that, in Scripture, we have more than just a paragraph of the account. In John, for example, […]

A tip for rising above procrastination

posted by mpratt

Putting off something important? Waiting for the perfect moment before you take action on a step toward a goal? We all do it, of course. But what separates failures from successes? The ability to throw aside the tendency to procrastinate […]

Oh, that most difficult of questions: How are you?

posted by mpratt

It’s become a part of our greeting ritual, but it’s also one of the most difficult questions we face. “How are you?” Usually, there’s a perfunctory, “Fine. How are you?” And the answer to that one? “Fine, thanks.” And the […]

Your favorite football fan doesn’t get it? Now’s your chance!

posted by mpratt

I am not a football fan, but I know many people who are. And, in appreciation for their vast knowledge of all things football, I offer here a way for those of us who have chronic illness and pain to, […]

How do you react?

posted by mpratt

People can be so cruel. Recently, I was driving home and saw a person in a car nearly hit a pedestrian who was “of a certain age,” and moving more slowly than the impatient driver wanted her to. True, the […]

How can you set goals when they keep moving?

posted by mpratt

It’s slippery, skittish, and speedy – chronic illness can lie relatively quiet for a time and then pounce on you from seemingly nowhere. One day, one moment, you might be forging ahead on steps toward a goal: Tapering medication, finishing […]

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 […]

That spark of something

posted by mpratt

Living with chronic illness often entails suffering tremendous losses. These blows to a fragile spirit can quickly lead to a dull, deep down feeling of hopelessness. You might ask, “Will my life ever mean anything, again?” or, “What’s the point […]

Signs of God’s Love

posted by mpratt

“Would you like some apple juice?” The nurse’s assistant was new to my doctor’s office, and I had only just met her. But as she helped the phlebotomist draw more than 11 tubes of blood from my arm, she could […]

Please remember, you cannot fail Christmas!

posted by mpratt

It’s a couple of days after the holiday, a couple of days after we sang Noel and celebrated the birth of Our Lord. And, perhaps, as the leftovers are settled and the wrapping is dispatched, you might begin to feel […]

Christmas Dawns!

posted by mpratt

It doesn’t matter how much there is still left to do, nor how much will go undone.  It doesn’t matter that the Christmas cake is a little over-cooked, nor that the casserole doesn’t taste exactly like grandmother’s did. Ingredients omitted, […]

Sit Back. Listen

posted by mpratt

It’s crunch time, now. No matter how physically impaired you might be, if you’re looking forward to Christmas, you undoubtedly see a lot of “musts” in your path between now and December 24/25. Errand. Doc appointments. Visits. Travel, perhaps. Present […]

Winter Wonder-land

posted by mpratt

Didn’t it begin earlier? Winter, I mean. Snow has already blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere, and cold temps have thrown many areas into a deep freeze. Yet, calendar-wise, winter has only begun on December 21. Makes me wonder if […]

Happiness in a Box?

posted by mpratt

I’ve had more doctor appointments than usual, lately, because of the episode with my eye. So, I’ve tried to “lighten” things up by finding bits of humor. I recommend this for any heart that is heavy with the burdens of […]

Chronic Illness: Teetering on Your Pedestal?

posted by mpratt

During holiday season, we come in contact with many more people than we usually do. In the course of our conversations, we probably talk about the health challenges we’ve endured throughout the year-almost-past (or, at least some of them).  And, […]

Bringing Glad Tidings

posted by mpratt

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,     because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,     to heal the brokenhearted To proclaim liberty to the captives […]

Important to Remember

posted by mpratt

If my experience last week is any example, I was strongly reminded that illness does not go on a holiday during the holidays – and when things go awry, it’s important to seek the right help, even if it interferes […]

Derailed at Holiday Time?

posted by mpratt

Advent. Christmas. New Year’s. Every year, they come around once a year. And we plan carefully, putting activities into narrow windows, packing them into our schedules.But often, for those of us with chronic illness and pain, we can be derailed. […]

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 […]

A Different Kind of Advent

posted by mpratt

Prepare the way! Advent is here – four weeks of waiting and watching and listening…and doing all manner of things to get ready for Christmas.  Because Advent comes every year, we’ve probably memorized all of the Scripture readings, song lyrics, […]

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, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Camera Shy?

posted by mpratt

With apologies to the beloved Christmas tune, “It’s the most photographed time of the year!” From now until the New Year, millions, if not billions of pictures will be snapped. Hours and hours of video will be shot. And you, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Be Forkful!

posted by mpratt

Hold onto your waistlines! One of the most challenging parts of the holidays is eating, especially if you have a restricted diet to begin with. The temptations – “Just one cookie won’t hurt,” “You can always work it off afterward,” […]

Where Does It Hurt?

posted by mpratt

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk about “Spiritual Suffering” at a large medical center in Los Angeles. The topic came at the end of a difficult, yet grace-filled year – a great way for God to help […]

Prepping for the Holidays

posted by mpratt

Are you ready? Ready for the Holiday Season? Perhaps some of you are. But if you are more inclined to utter an “Oh, no!’ instead of an “Amen!”, I understand completely.  We’re never fully ready, are we? And if we […]

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 […]

Prayer for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

posted by mpratt

Lord, I pray today for the people who care for men and women with Alzheimer’s disease. You know how hard their work is, how scant their resources, and how heavy their burdens. Perhaps tending to the needs of a stranger, […]

Alzheimer’s Foundation 2014 Candlelighting Event

posted by mpratt

The weekend of November 15-17, 2014, will again be the time when groups and individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease may commemorate their and their loved ones’  journey through the Alzheimer’s Foundation National Candlelighting Event.   There will be events throughout […]

Feeling Like a Failure?

posted by mpratt

At some point in a life with chronic illness and pain, we feel as if we’ve failed. Failed at keeping healthier. Failed at following doctor’s orders. Failed at relationships. Failed at life. No matter how many reassurances we get from […]

Seeking a Mentor

posted by mpratt

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I asked my doctor if she thought that joining a support group would be a good idea for me. She hesitated, then said, “No. There will be people who are depressed, negative, and […]

Previous Posts

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posted 7:34:08pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness and Pain: Discerning Who to Tell What
As we journey through our lives with chronic pain and illness, we undoubtedly will come across people who ask us "How are you?" Some are truly caring and want to be empathetic and/or reach out with help. Others are being polite, but might not be ...

posted 7:21:50pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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

Happy Father's Day!
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posted 7:21:21pm Jun. 21, 2015 | read full post »

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