Joy is something that we feel robbed of when dealing with everyday symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and doctor appointments. When I first developed RA, I felt lonely and isolated. I couldn’t do things I used to do that brought me joy, especially during the holidays, like attend parties, drink or even be on my feet for long. Connecting with people on social media expanded my horizons about ways to find joy. Now, I send people positive messages to bring them joy, which also makes me happy. I’ve sent so many of these that now I receive them, too, when I least expect it. I’ve even gotten videos of people from across the country singing happy birthday to me. I am still participating in society, I just do it a little differently than others. I might not be somewhere in person, but when I send some simple words spreading joy, people know they are in my heart and mind.
Facebook @Through the Eyes of Joy
YouTube @Joy Ross
I have always been a joyful person, but my complete loss of eyesight as a result of juvenile arthritis [JA] and my two young daughters’ diagnoses with JA, I have learned that joy is a choice. As a Christian woman of faith, I allowed God to teach me how to truly walk by faith and not by sight or on pure emotions. God began showing me the true meaning of joy even when the circumstances looked hopeless. Every single day I make the choice to begin the day on a joyful note. My story of hope, perseverance and love is changing lives all over the world! If it were not for our challenges and my faith in Jesus, I wouldn’t have this beautiful perspective. I believe when you choose joy, you find strength, hope and purpose.
Gratitude is about slowing down enough to really notice joy, beauty, what’s funny and what’s good. It’s about experiences instead of things and remembering that I am a lucky woman. This is easier during the holidays, when reminders of love and all we have to be thankful for are all around, but I try to practice gratitude every day. Taking note of positive things and talking to positive people help. Going out with my camera to capture the beauty of the world always makes me feel better, and there’s nothing like sitting quietly with a purring cat on my lap to appreciate the present. Life isn’t about perfection or about stuff, but about love. Finding a way to express that – toward others, toward myself – is at the center of how I cultivate gratitude.
Three bloggers write about those who have given them strength and support in dealing with their health challenges.
Continue reading Voices: How Has a Loved One Supported You?
Eight days before he is due for a total knee replacement, Ben Bebenroth is nailing shingles onto a wooden walkway to his barn in the pouring rain. Mid-winter warming has turned the snow into muck, and a bride is on her way to check out the event space at his Spice Acres Farm. The centerpiece of his commitment to locally sourced food, the farm is an outgrowth of his popular Cleveland, Ohio, restaurant, Spice Kitchen & Bar. Continue reading OA helped Chef Ben Bebenroth find the recipe for a balanced life.
After the heartbreak of 2017’s disasters, we all need a mental health break. What will you do in 2018 to increase your happiness?
Continue reading Voices: How Will You Embrace Joy in 2018?
We know, it sounds like a crazy question. But some people say they’ve found unexpected reasons to actually be grateful for their diagnosis. Here’s what three bloggers wrote.
Continue reading Voices: Are You Grateful for Your Arthritis?
Everyone needs to ask for help occasionally, but when you have a chronic condition, asking for and accepting help can be especially fraught. Here’s what three bloggers have learned.
Continue reading Voices: What Have You Learned About Asking for Help?
Juvenile arthritis awareness is in high gear – with Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month and two JA Conferences being held between July and August, this is the perfect time for director Aisling Walsh’s movie “Maudie” to hit theaters in most major markets.
“Maudie,” based on the true story of Maud Lewis, follows Maudie’s debilitating experience with arthritis throughout her life. Set in 1937, the movie begins with Maudie painting flowers on a wall with great difficulty. Sally Hawkins’s portrayal of Maud Lewis shines, as she next contorts her body to seem very small as Maudie sits smoking on the porch of her shrewd Aunt Ida’s house (Aunt Ida is played by Gabrielle Rose). Upon learning that the house will go under construction, Maudie is quick to find an opportunity as a live-in maid in a tiny shack with a gruff man named Everett (played by Ethan Hawke). And though rocky at first, the optimist and the pessimist, both social outcasts in their respective ways, begin a relationship.
Continue reading “Maudie” Stuns and Inspires Audiences
Q. Are you a slacker when it comes to self-care?
Taking care of yourself is so important, but who hasn’t dealt with the self-care burnout that comes with having a chronic condition?
For the first in a new series featuring some of the leading social media voices on life with arthritis, we asked these bloggers about their struggles with self-care.
Continue reading Voices: Are You a Self-Care Slacker?
Actor Clark Middleton has spent a lifetime defying limits and arthritis.
Art imitates life imitates art. Actor Clark Middleton, of NBC’s The Blacklist and Hulu’s The Path, is keenly aware of the parallels between his on-camera and off-camera lives.
Continue reading Clark Middleton: Role of His Life
When Mariah Aquino-Truss was just five years old, she was in so much pain each day she told her mom, Tory, that she “didn’t want to be here anymore.” Imagine hearing such an admission from your young daughter who was newly diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis (JA) known as polyarticular spondyloarthropathy.
Polyarticular spondyloarthropathy is a juvenile form of ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic, long term disease that affects the joints, ligaments, tendons and entheses. Shocked, saddened and ferociously determined to help Mariah and her family, Tory set out to find help – a road that led her to the Arthritis Foundation.
Continue reading A Dream Come True – Meet Our 2017 National Youth Honoree Mariah Aquino-Truss