Accomplishing Thankfulness via Thorough Commitment | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Accomplishing Thankfulness via Thorough Commitment

Kelly and JennyThe pieces to the puzzle of me are scattered across this blog. Elephants. Humor. Space exploration. Don Quixote. Determination. Eagles. Pollyanna.

Pollyanna gets a bad rap

It’s stunning to me how some things are construed as opposite of what they are. Somehow Pollyanna has become synonymous with sounding dismissive and detached. We all know people who dismiss serious problems that have no easy answer. “Don’t worry, it’ll work itself out” or “I know you’ll find a way.” That’s nothing like the Pollyanna I know and love.

Who says Pollyanna was a stranger to adversity who glossed over problems with trite remarks?

Florida cloudsPollyanna gave attentive, perceptive responses to others’ dilemmas because her father taught her the glad game to cope with the misfortunes that plagued her: she lost her mother at an early age and lived in poverty without toys, siblings, or playmates. When her Christmas gifts consisted of cast-off items deposited into a missionary barrel such a pair of crutches, Pollyanna’s daddy taught her to earnestly look for something to be thankful for. Even with crutches for Christmas, her wise father pointed out how glad they could be that she didn’t need them.

If you’ve read the book, you know that Pollyanna soon loses her only advantage in life – her wonderful father. Coping with the loss and honoring his life, she pursues thanksgiving at every inconvenient opportunity. She determines to prove that silver linings are the rule and not the exception.

Gratefulness is always good, but inconvenient thankfulness is a higher calling

Friends on escalatorWhat’s inspiring about practicing thankfulness when circumstances are favorable? Not so much.

The more dedicated you are to it, the more meaningful gratitude is.

We can almost always find something to be thankful for – and we should. But when we have to search for it, it’s even sweeter – and more inspiring.


Easy to be thankful for right now

  • Friends who stand by me
  • A GP who is attentive to infections
  • My kids’ health

Silver linings (The Glad Game)

  • Seeing my kids are compassionate people aware of others’ needs because of my illness
  • Getting to travel to exciting places just because of RA
  • Having a unique vantage point to do RA research and help others

What’s on your lists?

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Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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12 thoughts on “Accomplishing Thankfulness via Thorough Commitment

  • November 24, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I’m thankful for you, Kelly!! Thanks for all you do to inspire and empower others. You are making a difference!!

  • November 24, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Believe it or not- I am thankful for my health (RA), it is creating paths in my life that I never knew existed.
    I am thankful for my wonderful husband.
    I am thankful for my true friends.
    I am thankful for Social Media!

  • November 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Beautiful post Kelly! I am most grateful this year for attempting to keep my glass overflowing, for my ability to still volunteer despite my increased pain and disability even though now I have to look to other ways of doing so, and for looking at what I can still enjoy and do – not at what I can no longer do!

    Also for subscribing to RAwarrior….and watching how you are slowly but surely changing things for all of us with this “hidden” disease….Thank you!

  • November 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    What am I thankful for? Hmmmmm
    I am thankful that I found this site and for all the wonderful support I get from all you great ladies here.
    I am thankful for my husband who always there to stand by me and never let me go, for being willing to do things I am either to sore to do or to tired to do. for trying to figure out the best way of doing something so that I don’t hurt or over do myself.

    I am also grateful to my Photographer friends for checking out trails and photo shoot ops that will be easier for me to navigate, telling me about “hey if you go on this trail, watch for this or that, it might trip you up. or take this trail instead it’s not so steep.” I adore my photography friends and how they look out for me.

    I am grateful for my kids, One is going into nursing just because she wants to help and work with people with disabilities. and the other one who put off moving out just to stay home and help ole mom.

    I am grateful to all those who have stayed by my side instead of scattering with the wind.

  • November 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I can list every one of the things others have said! We are all very blessed! And that is one of the things I am thankful for: the blessings that flow down upon the followers of this blog, and the members of the Facebook RA Warrior page!
    I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. We have a form of prayer called an Akathist. There are numerous Akathists. One of my favorites is called the Akathist in Praise of God’s Creation. Although it was composed by a Bishop in the 19th century, it was found in the belongings of a Priest who died in a German workcamp in WWII. Part of a verse (5th verse) that I love goes:
    Glory to Thee, for Thy constant care of me,
    Glory to Thee, for providential encounters with people,
    Glory to Thee, for the love of relatives, the devotion of friends,
    Glory to Thee, for the gentleness of animals who serve me,
    Glory to Thee, for the luminous moments of my life,
    Glory to Thee, for the bright joys of my heart,
    Glory to Thee, for the happiness of living, of moving and contemplating,
    Glory to Thee, O God, unto the ages of ages.
    These are among the things I am thankful for.

    • November 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Elizabeth, that is so beautiful, I love how I learn something new everyday here. It is striking how, despite it was written so long ago, it is so applicable now. Thank you for posting it!

      As for me, I am thankful for my faith in God. When I felt I had no hope or reason to move forward, He was & is there to help me thru.
      I’m thankful for my photography, thru which I can find the beautiful things in life, from a butterfly on a flower to a child’s smile. It reminds me that I am not the sum of my RA issues.
      I’m thankful for my dog Nara, who’s unconditional love makes those crummy, colorless days, brighter & a reason to get up in the morning.
      I’m thankful for my family. Although the adults may not always fully understand, my niece and nephew don’t need any explainations. They know of my illness but they don’t care about the limitation and always offer to help. When I go home, my niece always offers to get my meds together for me to take in the evening. I love them so much!

      Lastly, I’m thankful that I have Internet that allows me to find this site, be a part of the great new Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. I feel like I finally fit in somewhere. 🙂 Thank you Kelly!!!

    • December 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      How beautiful Elizabeth. I read it through tears. Thank you for sharing it. I too Glory in God and all his mercies which are truly new every day. May you be truly BLESSED.

  • November 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I am grateful for my supportive husband. I am also grateful for finding this website after just being diagnosed.

  • December 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I am so thankful for so many things. Just 2 days ago my husband & I celebrated our 28th anniversay. In September he had surgery for pancreatic cancer & is now going through radiation treatments. And still he does his best to take care of me & help me get through my worst days. What more can I say ~ I Love this man! I have 2 grown, beautiful daughters, who like your children Kelly, are even more compassionate and tuned into peoples needs because of helping me with my RA. I also have a very precious 4 1/2 year old granddaughter who brings me great joy every day and the world’s best son-in-law. My mother lives with me & helps to run my household & care for me. Now she drives us back & forth 5 days a week for my husbands treatment, as driving with my shoulders, arms, hands (well, YOU know……) is too difficult for the most part. Thank God for a wonderful, loving mother. I don’t know what I would do without her. So, in the midst of everything, I am thankful and happy (even when I am stiff, swollen, and wrapped in as many heat packs/pads as I can get my hands on ~ when my hands will go around them that is!).
    And I am now also very thankful for YOU, Kelly and the RA Warrior site. I just discovered you when I picked up WebMD in the waiting room for physical therapy (here we go again!) 3 weeks ago. What a HUGE difference you are making in my daily life now. I pray for you every day and all those out there who share in our myriad struggles. Oh! I must add how thankful I am for my doctor. She is one of those rare ones who really gets it. She believes in treating RA aggressively and reassures me along the way. She laughs with me and even cries with me. And on the way out her door she hugs me & reminds me she is “always just a phone call away”. Now you can’t beat that!
    Blessings to You and Yours & Everyone out there who “feels our pain”!

    • December 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Dear Danette, I’m so glad you found us! Thank you for sharing your blessings with others since it is very encouraging. What an amazing doctor – yes, you can’t beat that!
      Oh, and thank you for your prayers! I hope your husband does well with the treatments.

      • December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

        Thank you so much Kelly. And ~ REALLY ~ THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO! We all know it cannot be easy for you. So I will continue to lift you and your family up in prayer.
        I should have added to my list how thankful I am for my sister. She is almost 10 years younger than me (I am 47)and has spent the last 4 years living in a different state but God is bringing her back home this June. She checks in with me every day and encourages me and bombards the gates of heaven on my behalf constantly. God has surrounded me with great love!


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