Carousel – The Daily Post

I’m convinced it’s the initial take off that excites a carousel rider. You wait patiently for your turn in line, maybe eaves drop on the conversation of the person in front of you, then when they make eye contact you turn away quickly and pretend to be staring off in to the distance. Sometimes you even make faces at the little baby behind you when the mom is looking away. If you’re me, you count the number of times the carousel goes ’round before the worker let’s on the next group. Yet, it seems the anticipation of anticipation is what makes the carousel keep spinning round and round, isn’t that why we choose to wait in line?


One day the line vanished and she walked passed the gate and sat down on the Carousel.

No direction–

No need for anyone to tell her where to go or what to do, except of course the Carousel.

The sun shined bright in the sky and her heart expanded as the Carousel made its first round. The closer to the top, the more she could see, but even the passing highs couldn’t stop the lows from snatching her from the view. She let it carry her on and on, she chose to stay put and not to get off. She started out her ride by counting the rounds, but after a while didn’t pay any mind. She trusted the Carousel, even when her over-sized heart beat at the top with suspense. She smiled at the possibility of the Carousel trapping her and even welcomed the anxiety mixed with fear. The idea made the ride more life-like and the realness of uncertainty made her certain, after all…

She trusted the Carousel.


“The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels – those who will submit their will to the will of the Father. And the greatest human attainment in all the world is for a life to be so surrendered to Him that the name of God Almighty will be glorified through that life.” – Kathryn Kuhlman


Yield your vessel, trust the Carousel.

With Love,

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

Amble – The Daily Post

She didn’t seem to really care what the rest were doing. The rest who made shades of color become grey in comparison to her walk down Main. She walked. She sang. She laughed and shook out all the insensible thoughts plaguing her soul. Confidence in the unseen is all it takes to experience the promenade of a new life. Soft “hallelujahs” and “thank yous” escaped between her pink smiling lips without thought or reason. One would’ve seen such a vessel and never thought twice that her life had been nothing less of limitless.

Yet, her amble walk only came as a result of where she had come. She once sunk back in to a shadowed corner of her very own prison cell. Who would’ve thought such a beauty could’ve been in a place like that? But that was yesterday, not today. Today she sang praises glorifying her liberator’s name. And tomorrow she would do the same. Tomorrow she would show up at the prisons of others and whisper the secret of liberation. His love would set them free—as it had her! And like a stone rolling down a hill, gaining momentum as it goes, so would this girl’s testimony. Rolling and rolling…faster and faster…

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink: thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” – John 4:10

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

 

Untitled

I knew the package came from her and I knew what was inside.

I sat with furniture and suitcases tightly packed around me. The only space being my own little corner where I could easily shift in to gear and steer the wheel to my new home. I wanted to tear open the package. Pour out its contents on to my lap. Read the letter I knew was waiting for me inside. Discover the unpredictable treasures of what I knew would be articles of clothing or trinkets she found at some time of day, in some random place…All manifestations of her thoughts of me. Gifts speak truth to the love harbored by the brokenhearted for the brokenhearted. She loved me unconditionally and I had chosen to let her go.

The way the manila envelope felt in my hands sent my heart in to my throat and the heaviness of nausea and stillness consumed me for a brief moment. My blood felt cold and my heart seemed to be the only part of me still moving forward through time. I listened to it thud loudly against my chest and in an instant the package laid unopened on the floor. Without thought, my limbs did what they needed to bring the car to life.

I was behind the wheel driving the car, but someone else was breathing strength in to my limp body. I had become increasingly familiar with this fresh breathe of air over the past few weeks, each new breathe had grown larger than the one before. Once again, He came to my rescue. Right there in that moment. There He was.

He now steers my wheel.

And with that thought I pushed down on the gas. His peace warmed my blood, the nausea dissipated, and the car moved forward with a smile…

 

“Can You Endure the Silence?

Of walking out your faith before God, who does not always speak to your insecurities? Sometimes God says nothing at moments of tremendous insecurity. He does not talk just to make you feel good. He will speak to you at pivotal moments in your life.” – T.D. Jakes

 

With Love,

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

First Friday – The Daily Post

First Friday of my life.

First Friday to end this lie.

First Friday to let God take the prize.

First Friday without my strength.

First Friday

To know where I came.

 

First Friday of my life.

First Friday unafraid.

First Friday to surrender my disgrace.

First Friday without what I will.

First Friday

To walk while He tells.

 

First Friday of my life.

First Friday, no more pain.

First Friday to kiss His face.

First Friday without broken faith.

First Friday

I’ll take what He gave.

 

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

Hidden Dome: The Soul of Durham

Anticipation leaked under cool blue skies

And feet crunched fallen leaves.

Roads whined sweet tunes of time

And age freed leaning trees.

What to make

Of this place not known;

This hidden dome—

Where nature says, “Move slow.”

 

People passing people with each step

And some stop to chatter.

Arms linking arms to keep warm

And some break for laughter.

Who are they?

These strange strangers?

The souls of this painted picture?

 

Destination reached under darkened skies

And mouths kissed mugs and glasses.

Taxis blurred through city lights

And chips lifted drunken masses.

What to make

Of this place not known;

This hidden dome—

Where evening says, “Let go.”

 

People passing people with each step

And some stop to chatter.

Arms linking arms to keep warm

And some break for laughter.

Who are they?

These strange strangers?

The souls of this painted picture?

————————————————————————–

I wrote the poem above as an ode to Durham, England where I once had the privilege to live. The moments I spent venturing through the city shops or jogging along River Wear made me feel I belonged among the carefully placed paint strokes compromising the scenic landscape. Not only does Durham lend truth to the idea of a tight knit community, but the community itself afforded me with an opportunity to meet English locals and some of the most intelligent people from around the world (some being English locals).

During the day, students of all cultures and backgrounds would intermingle up and down the cobblestone streets. The level of anticipation they shared to take part in lectures, and countless hours spent in the library researching their various topics of study, infected the air and you would find yourself beginning to wonder what you’d been doing with your life! The pure beauty of lush green fields and colorful leaves reflected the glory of autumn in to the winding rivers. The worn stone buildings stood strong with rich ivy leaves curling around the window frames. The bridges carried its travelers from Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle to homes lining the curvy streets. Years and years of rain and wind blackened the bridges’ ledges and green moss peaked through their cement foundations—all to remind you of the first forward thinking minds who crossed the same rivers centuries ago; the first to commit to challenging the known and discovering the unknown.

During the weekend nights, locals grouped together in pubs, dance clubs, and fish & chip shops (to soak up the alcohol of course–which is why I say “chips lifted drunken masses”). Students huddled together on weekend nights to enjoy a couple drinks as well. However, most students were spotted on weekday evenings around Durham’s City Centre. Wednesdays, for example, were considered “sports night.” The institution’s sport’s teams crowded in buses to compete in Badminton, Cricket, Fencing, Lacrosse, Hockey, and other common sports played throughout the U.K. Win or lose, the teams headed straight from their buses, courts, and fields to buy a pint (or five).

Begging the question, “Who are they? These strange strangers? The souls of this painted picture?” represented my quest to connect with strangers of a new country at that time in my life. My curiosity toward the differences marked by the students’ and locals’ upbringings, and how these differences contributed to the painting of Durham, England, posed more weight on the idea of “soul” then it ever had before. “Soul” took on a double ant antra. Like myself, all beings I encountered in Durham contained souls. They were full of life! Yet, all the souls found throughout the city today and once long ago, gave the city its own unforgettable identity. The souls created the soul of Durham City! Despite the beauty of the scenery and the history of the city, without the people there would not be a heart to the body of such a glorious place. Nor a painter, to apply its paint strokes.

Thank you for reading!

With love,

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

A Little Bit of Love and Wisdom

Desires

Written by Thomas E. McKay:

A philosopher was accustomed to going out into the hills and woods to study the laws of nature. After spending a day in such study, he would return to his village at night, where he would gather his people around him and instruct them in the lessons which he had learned.

One day one of his friends came to him saying, “Will you please bring me a hawthorn twig when you come back, that I can study the lesson you gave last week from that tree?”

“Yes,” the philosopher said, “I will bring you the twig tonight.”

The second one of his friends that morning said, “Will you bring me a rose, that I may study concerning the lecture you gave last evening?”

“Yes, I’ll bring you the rose.”

And just before the philosopher went through the gate of the town that morning, a third friend said, “Will you bring me a lily that I might study the lesson of purity you gave last evening?”

The philosopher promised to bring the lily.

In the evening about sundown when the old philosopher returned to the village, the three friends were waiting at the gate to welcome him.

To the first he gave the hawthorn twig; to the second he gave the rose; and to the third he gave the lily.

Suddenly the man with the hawthorn twig cried, “Here is a dead leaf on the stem of my hawthorn twig!”

The second said, “Here is a thorn on the stem of my rose!”

And the third one cried, “Here is dirt on the roots of my lily!”

“Let me see,” said the philosopher.

From the first he took the hawthorn twig; from the second he took the rose; and from the third he took the lily.

He plucked the dead leaf from the hawthorn twig and gave it to the first friend. He plucked the thorn from the rose and gave it to the second. He took the dirt from the roots of the lily and put it into the hands of the third.

Holding the hawthorn twig, the rose, and the lily, he said: “Now, each of you has what attracted you first. You looked for the dead leaf, and you found it. You looked for the thorn; it was there. You found the dirt of the lily because I left it on the roots. You may keep what attracted you first. I will keep the hawthorn twig, the lily, and the rose, for the beauty I see in them.”

We find in this world just about what we are looking for. If we look for dirt and sordid things, we can find them; or if we look for mistakes in others we can find them also.

If we look for the good and the beautiful, the good and the beautiful will return to us.

–Excerpt from Albert L. Zobell, Jr.’s compilation, “Storyteller’s Scrapbook”

With Love,

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

My Problem with Black Lives Matter

Some call me white girl;

Light skinned; mulatto.

Others aren’t so nice–they tell me,

“I’m wanna be black,

But don’t talk, don’t act.”

 

When I was younger,

My defense would go:

“My skin’s light, but my daddy’s black.

My brother is black.

My grandpa is too.

 

My knees get ashy.

My hair gets frizzy.

Behind me, you’ll find a booty.

And my black daddy

Gots baby mommies.”

 

Why is it these things

Defend my black pride?

Who gets to define true black life?

Black culture is real;

Exclusive; not white.

 

My mixed brother once

Told our white mommy,

“You aren’t my mom because you’re white.

I am full black so

How can I be white?”

 

Why did my brother

Feel white made him lack?

Was it because he’s called white boy;

Light skinned; not full black?

Shame–led his attack?

 

Or was it because

Of all the cracked jokes

Implying we act certain ways

If we wish to be

Part of the black race?

 

We all see the hurt.

We all hear the fear.

But may we recognize that skin

Shouldn’t define life

Or level of pride.

 

Black lives matter!

Indeed, they do.

So why does our

Black life only matter,

When we’re as black as you?

 

Now you see why

“Black Lives Matter”

Is a movement

Challenging to accept–

My black life’s lost; ersatz.

 

Dr. King knew

The solution:

Education

Gives power, acceptance

Shows love–the real answer.

 

Thank you for reading.

With love,

-KelseyWithSomeJo ❤

Watch the video of me reciting my poem here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYWcXzyBTGA&feature=youtu.be

 

Transforming the Past

“The past is the past.” They say, “Bury the past. Don’t look back, look forward.”

Three AM I lay asleep in my bed. I hear someone coming down the stairs and talking in a hushed tone. My stepfather cheating on my mom, talking to his mistress. I choose not to tell my mom. I try to forget it happened.

San Diego, 2005–I am on vacation with my dad and my older brother. My first time seeing the ocean, its vastness makes me feel for once I am not alone. God must be real to create something so large, open, and free. My dad disappears one night with a woman, my brother and I passed out in the back of the Range Rover parked on the beach. When we return home to Utah his girlfriend questions me. I tell the truth. My dad is disappointed. He yells at me. I know he is embarrassed. I ask for forgiveness and we bury the past.

I talk to my grandma about my pain, she tells me I can have enough faith to move a mountain. I believe her. The summer before I start high school she discovers she has one of those incurable diseases…Stage 4 Uterine Cancer. She refuses Chemo and we visit her regularly for the last four months of her life. The last day of her life, we gather together around her bedside. God wanted us there as she took her last breath. I laid next to her and told her I loved her. I witnessed her give her precious spirit willingly to the unseen place where a soul finds rest. She died on June 25th, 2010. On this day, I learn life has purpose, but I resent God for using these terms to teach me. I put the lesson behind me.

I wake my younger brothers up (on my mom’s side) on a weekday morning for school. I help them get dressed, pour their cereal, then the milk, finally sending them out the door at 7:30AM sharp. Successful people are on time, I tell myself, My brothers will be successful, they will break the odds. My brother born after me, my mom’s second oldest, struggles with Tourrets and OCD. At 13-years-old his teacher tells him he will never amount to anything because he is a jerk. That night, we stay up laughing and talking about Grandma and Uncle Jeff (who shortly died after my grandmother due to prescription pill abuse), I tell him not to believe his teacher. We move passed it.

My mom is going through her first divorce. I am in my room when I hear something shatter. I rush upstairs to find a broken bowl–its pieces scattered across the kitchen floor. My mom is crying and refuses anyone’s help cleaning up the glass fragments. She’s now a single mother again and has reverted back to the mentality of survival, showing no weakness, no emotion. Until something breaks, and then she does too. I cry with her, begging God or whoever is in charge to make her suffering go away. I want to provide relief. But just like she refuses to let me rid the shards of glass from the floor, she refuses to let me rid the shards of glass from her heart. I go to my room, consumed by thoughts of how I can be a better daughter, soon I fall asleep. The next day is as if nothing happened. She buries the past.

I sit in Sunday School, a year following my choice to be baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS faith. I am eleven-years-old. Being at church makes me happy. I memorize all the last names of the families who attend every week, families with cohesion, function, normality. The lesson is on repentance. “Everyday,” our leader tells us, “you sin. God remembers all of your unrepented sins, even the ones that seem insignificant, and you will too when you stand before him.” The wheels turn in my mind and I ask if we should write down all of our sins to remember what to repent for at the end of the day. She tells me I am right to keep a record and to do whatever it takes to make it back to God. I keep a list of my sins. I keep a list of my family’s sins. I keep a list of the world’s sins. Later on in life I will look back at this way of living and use it as fuel to fire my desire for true compassion through Christ, Jesus.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

There is darkness in our world and many people see “dwelling” on the past as unhealthy or counter-productive, but I share these experiences to show examples of inconceivable heartache being transformed in to pure grit and strength.

Every single one of us have weak things God is waiting to make strong. We show God our vulnerability by living imperfect lives and making destructive decisions. Sometimes we don’t understand our desire to choose something contrary to the benefit of our lives, decisions directly effecting our loved ones. We’re influenced by others, by our pasts, by false perceptions and lies, by pride and selfishness. Yet, without weakness, we cannot be made strong.

Dig deep to find yourself. Sometimes you might take a risk and the result may appear to not work out in your favor. But risk is always in our favor. When you take risks, the outcome will force you out of your comfort zone and lead you to discover your truest self, to discover your heart’s rawest desires. (Even if it hurts at first, the end result is worth it.)

You cannot love someone if you do not love yourself. You cannot love yourself if you do not accept who you are. You cannot accept who you are until you know who you are.

All the hate we harbor for past decisions, regrets that linger in the back of our minds, resentment towards our trespassers, self-pity…it must be expunged and replaced with love for our past, gratitude in the back of our minds, forgiveness towards our trespassers, self-worth.

We all suffer, we all laugh and rejoice. I believe God gave us families, friends, and communities so we could provide one another with consolation. I am 20-years-old with few answers to infinite amounts of problems. But answers or no answers, until the day God wills my heart to stop beating, I will not stop fighting to console the distress of others or my own.

Let’s not bury our past, let’s bury our hostility and instead, let’s discover new ways to use our past to find resilience–to create a brighter future.

To those out there fighting the battle of coming to terms with distant griefs and unhealed wounds of what used to be, you don’t have to force yourself to let those things go. They are beautiful because they made you who you are, they are beautiful because you lived through them.

New perspectives, more love…

With Love,

Kelsey With Some Jo ❤

 

 

 

 

Only the Paranoid Survive: Breaking Free of Complacency

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” -Andy (Andrew) Grove

Andy Grove

Andy Grove could not have said the above any better and the life he lived adds even more to the quote’s credibility and accuracy.

Andy died this past March of 2016. He lived a life of learning and was a philanthropist at heart. Some of you may recognize his name from being one of the founders and CEO for Intel Corporation.  His life story consists of nothing but inimical, external pressures, the exact pressure needed to create a diamond. The kind of pressure that reveals so beautifully the misplacement of complacency in the human heart and mind.

Born in Hungary during World War II to a Jewish family, him and his mother took on fake identities to avoid being sent to Auschwitz. Due to the predisposition of his birth, and its time and location, the harsh reality of inferiority and hate swirled around him. (In 1944 nearly 440,000 Jews were deported from Hungary to concentration camps in as little as two months [1]. Andy lived in Budapest, Hungary from his birth of 1936 through 1956. No wonder he believed only the paranoid survive!)

Andy escaped to the United States at 20 years old and arrived destitute. He barely spoke English and worked as a busboy while he attended City College of New York for Chemical Engineering (anyone who gets a degree in Chemical Engineering is genius in my book). He later went on to earn his PhD from UC Berkley and soon after assisted in creating Intel [2].

Admittedly it’s hard not to love a “rags to riches” story, but this is more than that! Andy was forced to take risks and step outside of what he knew, complacency had no place in his life because it was not an option. Trials can be unbearable, but if anything they challenge us to always be doing more, working harder: we need struggle, we need opposition.

“Success breeds complacency.”

I love the first line of this quote. Success is not always temporary, but its effects are. The success of receiving a college degree, dropping 20 pounds, being promoted to a higher positon at work, earning a bonus to buy a new car–it all feels great at first and then with time what happens? WE GET BORED. What happens when we get bored–we become grumpy, depressed, and displaced.

Of course we want to strive to have successes like the ones I listed above. Yet the skewed belief still remains commonplace in the world that if you work hard enough to get the degree or pay raise or (insert the blank), you will have “made it” and no longer need to continue to strive for something greater. Lies!

First, every single person reading this right now CAN do things you NEVER imagined yourself doing. I know.

Second, God created you to be a creature who desires spiritual/intellectual nourishment, an appetite for knowledge. Inside you are talents waiting to be exploited and shared with the world, talents reposed in the fibers of what makes you special. You are special.

Let’s get down to the truth (sorry to any of my O-Town friends reading this right now), but my hometown of Ogden, Utah is a bubble. A majority of the people are complacent. People settle and they are unhappy. Yet, the worst part of growing up in a bubble is how many complacent adults would make the idea of doing something greater than the expectation seem complex or extremely tedious. Guess what? You want to become someone, you want to do something with your life? Then do it. Nothing is complex about it! When you put forth some effort, set some goals for yourself, and have faith in your mission, you will find it is actual quite simple. It is actual quite natural.

“Complacency breeds failure.”

I once had someone tell me “you never fail until you give up.” Complacency is giving up. You aren’t trying to do anything–you are doing nothing.

Who truly desires to become a failure? No one. If you think failure is for you, then message me and I will tell you all the reasons why you are wrong. I am only speaking from my heart to the heart of my readers. I know how hard it is to find joy, peace, and fulfillment when you choose to be complacent and I also know complacency is a choice. Think bigger, aim higher.

When my husband and I first moved away from “our bubble” to San Diego it was new, exciting and especially challenging. Miles away my family laughed and shared new memories without me. Not to mention, as we waited for our apartment to be ready for move-in, we lived in about 6 different places in the span of 2 weeks, lugging our stuff to and from various hotels. One time we stayed in the solar technicians’ apartment. The place reeked of pee and alcohol, but it taught me to be grateful, no matter the condition, when you have a roof over your head–to many in the world a safe place to rest your head at night is considered a luxury.

Bills started becoming a normal thing (not to mention the crazy high electric bill out there–on some BS). It was a struggle and then it got easier and soon we were bored. So we moved to NYC and said bring on the next chapter!

Point of the story is: many parts of who I am today are greatly due to the experiences I had in Cali, I claimed many new successes I never even thought of seeking, I never even knew existed.

Not everyone needs to move somewhere new to take off the twenty-pound backpack filled with demotivation, dissatisfaction, and time wasted. If a twenty-pound backpack sits atop your shoulders and is getting heavy, take it off for a sec. See how you feel and do what feels natural. Maybe you run a little, do a dance, explore a new path. Challenge yourself, prove yourself right. Then do it again.

“Only the paranoid survive.”

Pretty sure if weed was legal on a federal level more people would be surviving! Haha! 🙂

Much can be found in between the lines of this brilliant saying…I recently read many interpretations on what Andy Grove meant by his profound statement, each one unique. Take away your own interpretation, maybe even share it with a friend.

To me, paranoia is a feeling associated with discomfort. It is a feeling of threat. Typically when we do not feel comfortable or threatened, it gives us reason to move–do something–change the game!

“Some of us have had plenty of practice developing and accepting behaviors that keep us complacent, bored with life, completely mediocre, and mentally defeated, which can deteriorate our ability to thrive.” -Rhona “Rho” Bennett

If we assume “striving” is the same as “thriving” we can see similarities to what both Andy and Rho are trying to tell us.

Maybe only those who are constantly on their guard, preparing their minds, accentuating their strengths, accepting of their frailties, refusing to trust others who hinder their development, will be the ones to survive in the end. The ones who thrive; prosper; flourish.

Just remember, the choice is up to you. You choose whether or not you want to rid the extra weight…

Much love,

KelseyWithSomeJo ❤

Citations:

[1]: Information acquired from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s official website: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005458

[2]: Exact names and dates pertaining to Andy Grove’s life were taken from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Grove

What People Don’t Understand: Living with an Autoimmune Disease

30 minutes. A lot can be accomplished in 30 minutes. You could take a shower, read some of that book you never get around to reading, watch an almost full episode of your favorite show on Netflix (Parks and Rec. if you’re me), go for a quick jog, call your friend, whip up a batch of cookies, catch up on the stats from last night’s game, and the list goes on. So believe me when I say spending 30 minutes determined to open a can of tomatoes “can” be quite frustrating–to say the least. So frustrating and debilitating that when I pulled out the cans of tomatoes required for my recipe, I literally started the task with a pep talk. It went a little something like this:

“Okay you cans of tomatoes, listen up. I need you and you need me. You want out of that can and I want you in this oh so delicious soup. Please, don’t be difficult like the can of corn I tried to open the other day. Be better than the corn.”

Yet there I stood–30 minutes later–with a handheld can opener in one hand and a large knife in the other. The recipe required three cans of tomatoes and I had opened two. At this point my determination had turned into indignation. Beads of sweat glistened along my forehead, chunks of tomatoes were splattered across my face and along the wall, tomato juices clung to my frizzy curls, all I could see was red. I laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation and then cried for the same reason. I kicked the cabinet below me and slammed the can against the countertop. I walked out of the kitchen and into the hall–took a moment, took a breathe. I prayed. I screamed.

Opening a can of tomatoes is no joke.

And that’s what people don’t understand. When it comes to being the culprit of Rheumatoid Arthritis or any autoimmune disease affecting the functions of the joints, meeting the demands of the simple tasks performed as we go throughout our daily routines becomes seemingly impossible and requires a greater deal of energy and attention. Living life, to the most basic degree, becomes a diurnal hurdle.

People hardly ever give notice to the execution of the daily chores life requires them to fulfill. They are known only as minuscule, monotonous undertakings completed yesterday, today, and eventually tomorrow. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you actually took the time to stop and think about your hand turning the key to start your car? Or the way you hold the pen or pencil you use? What about buttoning your blouse? Tying your shoe? Placing the hair tie around your ponytail? Holding the razor to shave your legs or you beard? Pulling your pants up after you go to the bathroom? Twisting a door knob? Shaking someone’s hand? Putting your shoes on your feet? Using your arm to prop up your head? Unscrewing the cap off of a water bottle? Washing your hair? Opening a window? Getting the itch right behind your shoulder? Walking down those stairs you walk down everyday? Lifting the lid off of a container? Unbuckling the straps of a car seat for a small child? Removing your wedding ring before you wash your hands? Opening a can of tomatoes?

We–the victims of swollen hands, fat toes, popping knees, shoulders that carry around invisible 50 pound backpacks, and other torments from joint inflammation–think about these things EVERYDAY. We fear them. We despise them. We wish they would go away. Behind every shoe we tie, hand we shake, etc. there lies pain and with that pain, the utmost amount of vexation.

Autoimmune diseases are real. Thousands of people face them every minute of everyday. According to cdc.gov, an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States were told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. An even staggering statistic, an estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition; this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children in the U.S.

So, to my readers out there experiencing similar physical tribulations, I understand what you’re going through. I hear your silent cries. Hang in there. Remember, everything has purpose and the Lord loves you. You can always draw on him for strength.

And to my readers blessed with bodies free from inflammation and a broken immune system, next time you meet someone who says their hands hurt them or run into a friend you know with arthritis or a similar condition, I hope you will stop and think about what they may be feeling. I hope you will hug them and remind them how much you care about them. You may not know exactly what we are experiencing, but sympathizing can still speak wonders. There is no cure for arthritis in its many forms, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. However, I believe and am convinced love cures just about anything and everything. Please, be grateful for the body God has blessed you with. Take advantage of your mobility! After all, the last time you opened a can was probably done with little effort and scarcely any thought and that, ladies and gents, is a blessing in and of itself. ❤

With love,

Kelsey With Some Jo