Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

5 Points to Keep in Mind for Success in Getting Through Your Most Challenging Obstacles

In the garden and in every phase of our life we all face obstacles. Some only slow us down; others stop us dead in our tracks. And then there’s the total knockout that puts us down for the count.

#1 – It’s Not the Event That Shapes Your Future

Most of us don’t look forward to unpleasantness in any form. I know I don’t.

It seems however, to be a fact of life that if you can deal with the situation by walking through it and looking for opportunities, you build an inner strength and fortitude that enables you to bounce back more quickly and easily in the future.  And —possibly survive the current situation better than you went in.

For it’s not the event that will shape our future. But rather the thought process we use to get past the obstacle and find opportunities to improve our lives in spite of an unavoidable setback.

Whatever the obstacle, there are ways to deal with it that will shape your world for the better.

#2 – Requirement: You Have To Want To — And That Might Take Some Time

In most cases, “wanting to look for the good in a bad situation” is a lot easier to talk about than it is to do. Especially just after it happens.

Anger, fear, sadness, and frustration can be normal responses depending on the severity of the problem.

We need time to process what’s happened or is happening to us. Once we come to terms with the situation, we can better decide how to proceed.

#3 – Knowing This Fact Helps Us to See How Important It Is to Move in a Positive Direction

Fact: Negative feelings, thoughts, and reactions take a lot of energy and PREVENT (or at the very least hinder) the good outcome you want.

For years I had trouble with depression and sinking to the depths of despair when a seemingly insurmountable obstacle arose. I saw the situation in the worse possible light and thought the way I was seeing it was 100% accurate.

Those thoughts did nothing but drain my energy and make me feel worse. Once I changed my negative direction and looked for opportunities within the problem, even if it was halfheartedly, things started to improve.

Eventually, Bill and I formed the habit of giving ourselves time to process what was happening and then immediately thereafter looking for possible benefits and opportunities within the problem. From there we could better determine a strategy to deal with the situation.

Once looking for the benefits and opportunities within the problem is a habit, it’s automatic.  And that makes life a lot easier.

#4 – The Influence of Others – Those You Keep Company with, What You Read, What You Watch

People we choose to spend time with (be it family or friends) make a huge difference in success or failure in every area of our life. If you want to be – successful, positive, healthy, happy, etc. – surround yourself with people who have the qualities you want for yourself.

Those who are negative, unsupportive, and drain your energy will do you harm.

They influence your attitude. Attitude determines our thinking and behavior on which success or failure in overcoming any obstacle ultimately depends.

What we read and what we watch (movies,etc) also impacts our thinking and behavior. They’ll have the same influence as people we associate with.

You have to make the choices.

And as I mentioned in a previous post: make no mistake, no matter how small it might seem, every decision and choice is taking you towards your goal or away from your goal.

Aristotle Onassis
“It is during out darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

#5 – Take the Action Best for You

Gather whatever information you need to formulate a plan to resolve whatever difficulty you’re facing and then take action.

Remember, there will always be someone with an opinion about what your course of action should be. And although it seldom hurts to listen, no one really knows your situation like you do. You’re the only one who can decide on the best course of action to take.

Don’t fall prey to the “instant gratification” and “quick fix” mindset that is highly promoted in our society. Often the best solutions are ones that take time.

Just because you don’t see immediate results doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is ineffective.

A good strategy coupled with consistent action pays off.

Final Thoughts

These 5 points have helped me get through a lot of difficulties over the years, including the one I’m experiencing now.

I hope they’ll be helpful in getting you through whatever obstacles you face now and in the future, be they great or small.


Related post:

Choices – Making You Stronger or Weakening Your Resolve


All content including pictures is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved.


  • Thank you for the wonderful encouragement this morning! With much appreciation, Becky O

  • Are you still on the floor? My heart aches for you. Will money help? Tell us how to send money to speed up the process for recovery if it will. We love you too much to allow you to suffer as a slave to your kitchen floor. We want you to roam freely in and out of your house.
    Praying for you and hoping you will get well.

  • Theresa, how are you doing? Are you up and around yet? You have done so much for all of us, how can we help you? Bonnie

  • Wise words once again. 🙂

    I will echo Steve’s post. If there is something we can do to assist whether it be money or something else, please ask.

    I admire your fortitude, perserverance, and positive can do attitude. You are a strong person and show it by continuing to move forward regardless of what is happening in your environment.

  • Patricia and Becky, I’m delighted you found the information encouraging and inspiring.

    Thank you for letting me know because to inspire and encourage was the purpose of the post and it’s nice to know you were.

    Don, thanks for adding a bit of fun to the conversation. 🙂

    Steve, thank you for your message of loving concern. I sent you a private email in reply.

    Bonnie, you help me a lot by commenting and leaving messages of concern. I appreciate that so very much.

    I’m still on my kitchen floor.
    Have 3 more weeks to go before I can even start to try to stand. That will be a slow process, but I’m already preparing.

    Of course, mine is not the ideal situation, but I feel extremely blessed and can see improvement and progress in healing everyday.

    The excellent part is that I’m free of pain 99.9% of the time.
    I cracked my femur and appear to have only soft tissue damage in the hip area. My left knee is the part I have to be careful with.

    That was the bad knee to begin with and I probably have more tissue damage now. Once that improves I think I could be even better than before I fell.

    I will be so glad when I can get up and fix myself something to eat that I will really enjoy!!!!! And a cup of hot tea with a meal will be heaven!!

    Right now I’m surviving on basics that require the least amount of time from other people.
    Tomatoes, cukes, onions, peanut butter, and whenever someone can fix them I enjoy chick peas or beans with lots of chopped garlic!

    Ever since day 3 I’ve tried to exercise all muscles to keep somewhat fit. Just starting to be able to work on the hamstring muscles in the left leg. (Very exciting because they really need it!)

    The past 4 days I’ve been able to scoot down to the bottom of my enclosure and put both legs out and sit up at a 90º angle without any discomfort.

    Think I can pull a basket of cured onions close enough to me when in that position that I’ll be able to trim their roots and tops. That will be for tomorrow or Thursday. 🙂

    Thank you all for being so wonderful.

  • Joyce, your message came through just as I was putting up my reply to others.
    Thanks you so much for thinking of me. It’s very encouraging to me.

  • The name of your next book could be “Kitchen Floor Wisdom” or “Thoughts From A Kitchen Floor”. I for one am curious about what your days are like since it’s hard for me to picture what you’re experiencing. Anyway, glad you’re seeing improvement and thanks for sharing these things that we should know but forget when troubles come in like a flood.

  • Connie you made me smile!!! I agree that’s a great title!
    About my days:
    *wake up
    *exercise some (I do this first, again mid day and some last things before sleep)
    *fix nutrients (pre measured in glasses in a bag beside me)
    *water and herbs
    *personal needs
    *work on book or post for as many hours as I’m able
    *wash my eyes with eyebright (tie a towel around my neck so water won’t get everywhere) (at first I wasn’t able to do this and my eyes got much worse; so was very pleased that I can do it now)
    *make a list of what needs to be done so when my friend comes I’ll have it handy
    *if a friend comes to replenish supplies (cooler packs, tomatoes, cukes, water, etc.) that takes an hour to 3 hours depending on how long they have to help me
    *give some thought each day to how I can better help myself and how I will approach the ton of work
    that awaits me when I get up
    * answer emails from readers that need help or reply to ones offering encouragement
    That’s basically it, Connie. As I mentioned previously I hope to get my onions cut and ready for storage starting tomorrow.

  • You are a wealth of information and an inspiration. I love reading your posts as you share tried and true gardening tips as well as life lessons. Hugs to you and best wishes on your continued health improvement.

  • Oh Theresa!
    What an amazing person you are! Thank you for this post but I really appreciate the detail you wrote out in the comments!
    Connie is brilliant! I think that book would be a best seller 🙂

    I will read and reread your posts for strength and guidance as I have a bone taken out of my thumb and ligament taken out of my account and in two days. I won’t be able to use my right hand for nearly a year. I’m quite concerned with that until I think of you confined to your kitchen floor with a broken leg and bad knee. I wish with all my heart and soul I could help you!

  • Hello fellow TMG readers,

    You can order Theresa’s PDF book “Secrets to Seed Starting Sucess” to help her! You’ll get a wonderful gardening book and Theresa can send it from her laptop…

    And of course you can add as much Shipping & Handling $ as you’d like…Cheers, Julie M.

  • Hello Theresa!
    Wonderful news about your progress!
    I’m with Connie…. “Cracks in the Ceiling”, will be the inspirational book of the year!
    Much love and positive energy sent your way…Namaste, my friend.
    Suzanne @Le Farm

  • This was just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for being such an inspiration despite going through such a difficult time. I will continue praying for your healing.
    God Bless!

  • Dear Theresa,
    I apparently missed reading last month’s August post, probably because I was sick with a nasty sinus infection and now battling allergies. Oy! But SO very good to read this post and the most recent one. I’ve been praying for your healing every night as I go to bed and was wondering how you were doing.

    You are an amazing strong woman and you inspire me in so many ways. It’s easy to become a bit negative when you’re not feeling well and what a bummer that is! You encourage us to be positive in the face of difficulty and challenge. Hallelujah!

    I too wondered how you spent your days on the floor and what your injuries were. Thanks for sharing that with us. You inspire me to get moving while I can and to have a more positive attitude.

    Love and prayers,

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