All or Nothing, just do Something


Years ago we lived on a half of an acre in Idaho. We planted our first garden while living there. It was big, but definitely not beautiful. Beauty wasn’t the goal though, having it produce was.

It did produce. We had a pretty good harvest and I was able to even do some canning with what we grew. This small success gave me the desire to have a green thumb.

We moved the following summer for my husband to pursue graduate school and no longer had a yard to plant a garden. My desire to develop a green thumb was not able to be fulfilled.

Upon moving to California, one of my needs was to have a yard. Not only did I want to plant a garden but I wanted an outdoor area for my kids to play. Luckily, we were able to rent a home with a decent yard. For the last three years my kids have enjoyed it but having a garden has never come to fruition. That is until now.


This year we finally planted a garden! It is far from the size of our first garden but it is something.

What kept us from planting a garden for three years?

We had the all or nothing approach.

We knew it was impossible to have a garden the size of our first one so we chose to do nothing at all. Instead of planting and being able to harvest something we had nothing. We deprived ourselves of the fun of gardening and the excitement of reaping.

How often do we take this approach in life?

I’m guilty of it a lot. I believe it tends to be found in perfectionists. Though I would not consider myself a perfectionist, I definitely set high standards. Sometimes those standards are so high I resort to not even trying at all, just as I did with not planting a garden.

What I realized once the steps were taken (the real credit goes to my husband) to having a garden is: doing something can bring as much happiness as doing it all.


I’m sure we will not have the same reaping as we did with our first garden but we are able to experience the joy of gardening again. Hopefully the difference will be made up in getting to share the experience with our children this time. It has been fulfilling to see their excitement and helping them develop green thumbs in the process.

It’s not too often we get to have all we want but there’s usually a way to find how to have something. That something can become all we really need.


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.