Stop making excuses (part 1)


The other day I met up with a friend and fellow mom at the park. I noticed her freshly manicured nails and commented how nice they always look. Curious, I asked her how often she gets them done. She thanked me, replied “about every two weeks”, and then quickly followed with an excuse I hear often, especially from mothers; “it is the one thing I do for myself.”

I find myself saying this same phrase. Why?

My answer: we don’t want to appear selfish.

My friend went on to explain how she has gone to the same nail tech for 11 years (that’s a loyal client!) This nail tech has seen her through all four of her pregnancies and much of her adult life.

I have found one of the things I do for myself is exercise, particularly running. I didn’t always enjoy running. In high school it was something I merely did to stay conditioned for playing soccer. Now it is something I merely do for myself. It brings me happiness for a myriad of reasons.

We need to stop making excuses for doing things we enjoy. When I feel guilty I ask myself these three questions:

  1. Does this truly make me happy?
  2. Will it provide a way for others to be happy? (when I’m happy it radiates to others)
  3. Can greater happiness stem from it?

Now go do what makes you happy (without guilt).



Sorrow begets Joy

poulsen family pictures with I am Michelle Gifford Photography-16
photo: @iammichellegifford

It wasn’t too long ago I was experiencing disappointment after disappointment. In the midst of great sorrow, I was hit with a very strong impression to try for another baby. My first thought was, “that’s a sure way to throw me over the edge to insanity”. In fact, I was certain it would only cause me more misery. Guess what? It did . . . temporarily.

Why, when I chose to act on an impression, was I then given more anguish? Seems unfair, right?

It wasn’t unfair though. Hindsight, I actually received more than I gave. Sure, at the time I felt I couldn’t give anymore; I didn’t think I could physically be pushed any further. What I received were important life truths. The greatest truth being: when I give more than I think is even possible the reward becomes even that much greater.

Despite my miserable pregnancy, and still having many of those same disappointments present today, joy has been added to my life through Gracie. It’s not hard to see why, her smile is contagious.

Joy cannot be experienced without sorrow. Likewise, joy cannot be achieved alone. We are here on earth to help each other feel joy. Gracie came into my life when I needed her. She is just one of the many people who have fulfilled my needs and blessed my life with joy.


Joy can be found


I want to have a joy-filled life. Who doesn’t want that?

It is becoming more and more difficult to find joy amidst opposition. With only a quick view of the news, there is an ample amount of evidence we live in a world full of turmoil. And, unfortunately, many don’t need to look even beyond their own home to find it.

Opposition is essential for life. There must be sorrow to experience joy; one cannot exist without the other. It is finding balance between the two which is the true test of life.

It appears sorrow is triumphing over joy. My goal is to show that is not so.

There is joy being made, even by the most ordinary people. There is joy to be found, even through the most simplest ways.