Many Blessings: Looking Back and Looking Forward

I remember shopping for rubber stamps in the months before my diagnosis with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2010. I wandered the aisles of Craft Warehouse and selected a package that inspired me. The stamps were of cherry blossoms and soaring birds, with words like {Many Blessings} and Bloom and I decided right then and there in that aisle that I would do just that.

I decided that no matter what came with my health and my joints and ability to walk, I would keep growing and live joyfully and I would try to live my life in such a way that people watching could be inspired.

Because we all have battles, don't we?

Today I was doing some journaling. I got out some stamps and ink pads, and stamped the words from that package of stamps on heavy ivory pages and I remembered that time so clearly. I remembered the fear and the worry, the new symptoms that popped up frequently (autoimmunity is like a circus, you just never know what new and colorful thing will surprise you next), the months between when my primary care doctor said she was certain I had AS and 3-4 months later when my rheumatologist confirmed the diagnosis.

I remembered reading posts by Sara Frankl, and being strengthened by her attitude of daily joy regardless of the circumstances. I filled myself that summer, reading inspiring things, feasting on outdoor beauty, and journaling my own feelings and declarations that no matter what came, I would grow and I would fight and I would live my best life.

For me, it's important to look back and remember the milestones. It's important to regularly think about the choice and commitment I've made to find a way to weave beauty, inspiration, courage and my dreams into my reality.

I'm thankful for books and blog posts that have kept me inspired. I'm thankful for the example of how others fight their battles.

I feel buoyed by the realization that I have done the best I could so far, and that I have kept a joyful, thankful outlook. I'm thankful for everything and everyone and the One who have helped me do that. I'm also thankful for grace when I can't fight for a day or two and need some time to just grieve what the reality is.

I choose again today to continue to live with as much courage and strength as I can muster, to offer grace to those around me and to myself when needed, to use my words to heal and uplift, not to harm.

I choose again to keep fighting to make my dreams reality, even when my reality is heavy and hard.


  1. You are a huge inspiration, Jenn!

  2. I love the stamps! I love the post! We do all have battles, indeed we do. I think it's really important, especially with long battles, to pay attention now and then to that perspective of looking back and looking forward by keeping as clear a focus as possible. (I really like "autoimmunity is like a circus"!)

  3. oh sweet sis-guin,this is beutiful and brought tears to my eyes because we walk this journey together and there are days that are very rough.i tend to step away and i have for a few weeks now just reading blogs and staying away from much needed support.for me the AS has attacked not just my joints and spine but my mind and brain.little by little everything gets harder.my head hurts,my consentration and memories slowly leaving me.i no longer can read a book which used to comfort me now i have to listen to audio instead of holding a book in my hand.seconds after having a conversation i will 4-get what we had just said.i no longer am able to do 2 things at once.slowely everything is slipping away.in feb i turned 37.i had to stop and think about that.i had 4-gotten.i remembered by the fact my husband turnes 40 and he was born in 1972 and i was born in 1975.for a second i aged myself and thought i was 38.anyway its scary were so young but our bodies are so old.i had at 1 point wanted to write my journey down but i found it to be too difficult.writing for me is is not easy.my fingers/hand are swollen and hurt real bad.if you read my story on faces u will understand me alot better.for some reason your blog and some others i am able to read so i cling to them.some i can't because they become to long and book like.my heart screamed to share this.your writing brings a smile to my face when all i want to do is cry and scream.i hate that we met because of this awfull thing called ankylosing spondylitis.i wish we met under happier reasons.in my journey i am glade i chose not to have children because it would be even harder to go this journey that i am on.i pray you never suffer the pains of your mind leaving you.i think you are an awsome mom and you have tought your girls how to be strong.i hope they have enjoyed there CHRISTmas gift from me.i picture you,your husband,and girls all making the things in those books.i tend to babble more now and at times make no sence.that is why i walked away .lots of love and gentle hugs sweet one

  4. It is a daily choosing itsn't it. I find my head nodding and my spirit saying I need to resolve all over again. For in a flare you weaken and you feel like you took a hundred steps back in joyfulness in contentment in the choosing of gratitude. Then you lean on words full of truth full of his guidance and you sigh deeply. You commit to battle. And do with grace. All by his strength. Thank you for the reminder.


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