“You Can’t Have it ALL”


As a young adult, in the early years of dating my now-husband, I can recall having conversations with him about our dreams of “someday”. While we each harbor a deep appreciation for nature, both of us were born & raised in the heart of Minneapolis. We’d think ahead to that “one day” when “maybe we’d be able to live among nature…” “Oooh, maybe we will find a place on a body of water – maybe a creek or a river – in the woods.” When Joel decided to pursue his career choice, we realized we’d need to be near city limits in order for him to have any work (or to avoid hefty commutes and long hours.) When we met with realtors – I recall one specifically asking for all the “goodies” we’d like in a home…. “Do you want a Fireplace?” “Um, well yeah – it would be ideal.” “Do you want hardwood floors?” “Um, sure. Love those…. If it’s in our price range…” “How about a finished basement?” “Well – again – if it’s in our range. We can always come back to that later – but you know, who wouldn’t?” The list went on… and the prices soared. It started to seem very improbable that we’d find anything we wanted in a home, let alone wooded acreage and shoreline! We took the pressure off of ourselves, but we’d put it out there for the Universe. (Uni is essentially one-in-the-same as God for me – and is my kind of term of endearment for Him and all of the spirits at play in that realm.)

We actually weren’t even really looking when we found our home. And – wouldn’t you know it, it’s an acre and a half of woods and meandering creek, with a fireplace, hardwood floors, and a finished basement – all within a short distance from the heart of the city limits. We happened to be visiting family, and saw the ‘for sale’ sign being put up in the yard on our way by. Meant to be? I think so! It’s a bit of a pipe-dream-turned-reality, and there’s more where that came from~


It’s about to get personal! But hey – if you can relate – you can find inspiration…. I’m big on bucking the system, and making the most of life – in your own way. What can I say – I refuse to ‘settle’! Remember – our health is dependent not solely on the food we consume and the activity we engage in…. There is more to us than our physical bodies. We are body, mind, and spirit. We have to soothe that spirit and stimulate our souls to be fully alive and truly fulfilled. Our overall (holistic) health depends on it.


While growing up, I can recall hearing those very words in the post title: “Denise, you can’t have it all!” They have stuck with me – though it’s not what you think. I’m pretty sure I was whining about my inability to achieve multiple desires at a stage of childhood when desire fueled everything. (Now why exactly do we begin to move away from that as we age?) Though I’ve always had the will (a strong one), and a drive (read: passion) – I wasn’t always able to figure out a ‘way’ (particularly during my youth.)

In one respect, these words can be viewed as negative or limiting. But – that’s (fortunately) not how I viewed them. (And I want to stress, neither did the person speaking those words.) I received them from someone I love and who loves me…. I know that they meant well.They wanted me to have what was presumed to be a little reality-check. A little moment of clarity. Priority, perhaps. And it didn’t scar me in any way. In fact, it only propelled me further in my mission to accomplish this feat. Ever since, I’ve been pretty hell-bent on having “it all”!


There are a few key points to keep in mind when you consider what this actually means. For starters, the exact definition of ‘it all’ is going to be different for everyone. And while we may, in fact, be able to have it all – in spite of what we’re led to believe by society. We may just not be able to have it all AT ONCE. (Truly the #1 key, here.)

And let’s remember two other important points of clarification:

  1. Let your Core Desired Feelings (or CDF’s) be the driving force behind having ‘it all’/ reaching for your desires. [How do you want to feel? Are your actions and goals aligned with that? Yes? Then keep moving. No? Then change your course.] And…
  2. Continue to be grateful & content with what you have achieved already, while still moving toward goals that help to continue your process of self-discovery, and fueling your purpose, and making a difference.


At this point you may be wondering…. “D. Mack…. Do you have ‘it all’???”

My short answer is – ALMOST! OK – mostly YES… But I’m still striving toward additional growth. Content, and still moving forward. It’s the ideal combo – so in reality my answer should be a resounding ‘YES!’ But that doesn’t mean I’m stagnant and reveling (though there is SOME reveling! That’s the gratitude.) There is more to achieve, and more of me to put out into this great big world. And – I’m still in the early stages of achieving FULLY what I intend to achieve in order to continue fueling my spirit and my passions – and hopefully making a difference for others (perhaps you?)…. And it will all continue to change and evolve and grow – right along with me. However, I’m definitely working at wallowing a bit more in the here-and-now, and what I’ve already achieved…. I’ve gotta say – that’s a big part of having it all, baby!

As mentioned above and in a previous article, another key to happiness in life is to balance contentment with desire. As Danielle LaPorte so eloquently shared – there will always be desire. The key is to follow it – without being pushy – and while remembering gratitude. Forward momentum. Yum. Enjoying right now. Yum.


THE LONG ANSWER: Personally for me – having it all encompasses (as not all of them have come full-circle yet) the following goals and achievements:

– I’ve found my true love in a best friend with whom I cannot wait to share my joys and sorrows – and who reciprocates that – actually wanting to be with me…. [This didn’t come easily! We’ve had our share of hard times and growth – and our love withstood those. We’ve come closer to one another through those very challenges.] Grateful. Still growing as individuals and as a team, as we move through life’s transitions. This relationship will always evolve.

– I’m mom to 2, amazing, inspiring, wise little ladies – who continue to help shape me. I’ve learned a lot, and have been reminded of other important life lessons, through the trials of parenting, and the joys as well. I have known deep down that I wanted to be a mommy since I was asked at the ripe age of 2… I’m told I answered, “A mother”. Grateful for this blessing on a daily! This title will continue to evolve as well, no doubt.

– I’m healthy! I struggled for some time to figure out what my body was trying to tell me. Mixed signals and few direct answers made this a challenge…. but I remained strong and focused, and have found a multitude of ways to overcome the biggest hurdles that I had been facing. Now I pray that this health continues to manifest as I continue learning all that I can to help my body and soul progress in that direction. [Lucky YOU! You get to be in on this journey too – and step into your own through my learning-curve. Happy travels, my friends!]

Every now and again I have a little reaction to something. The thing is – it’s typically minimal – and I’m usually able to trace it to something specific. It’s SO rare now. In fact, at one point I went a full 6 months in a row without any reactions or hormonal upsets.

– We live not in the city, but not in the ‘burbs. It’s somewhere in-between – in wooded surrounds with a crackling creek running through our backyard. As integral as nature is to our being (for both Joel & I), we are thrilled to have found this little natural retreat for ourselves and our psyche. Though we are in the cold-ass state of MN, we have a limited commute, great flexibility with Joel’s career, and a fab pocket of artsy, local, and unique offerings within a short distance, plus ready-access to healthy food choices nearby. The girls’ current school is simply A.MAZ.ING. Add to that the fact that our extended families are both local, and Joel’s career is something he’s naturally drawn to and enjoys, we are in the best possible place we can be at this juncture in our lives… [And we welcome those warm-weather getaways!]

– I’m doing something every day that fuels my soul, and stands to help spread awareness, instigating change within the system-at-large! (Hosting THIS very site. Yum yum.) I am thrilled to be moving in the direction of my heart – acting on my desires – and following the promptings of God as I go. For me though, this also means the flexibility of putting my family first, and carving out time for us to connect and just be. This flexibility is imperative to my overall happiness! The flexibility in Joel’s career path also facilitates a lot of our needs in this way.

– Joel & I have realized that we do not need to wait for “someday”, as often as we once believed (such as for certain traveling opportunities, some home & yard improvements, and other goals….) I’m admittedly not the most patient person on the planet anyway. But more than that – life is short. Life is curvy and comes with unexpected set-backs and pitfalls. I believe we learn & grow from these, but I also know that we have to appreciate TODAY more. We need to be present, in the moment – “right there, right here” (as quoted in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. A must-watch film, for sure). It’s all we really have. There needs to be a delicate balance between making the most of this moment – while also planning ahead for our (theoretical) future. Our choices are not careless or frivolous – but much more focused, intentional, and catering more to how we want to feel TODAY. Pushing aside those limiting beliefs that hold us back, and prioritizing goals according to what really matters to us.

Here’s the link to the movie on Amazon:The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

– We have the things that many of us take for granted on a regular basis – that make living life not only possible, but enjoyable. Food on our table that truly fuels our bodies. The knowledge to make meaningful choices about those foods. The ability to learn more. The time to devote to that process. Shelter – not just a shelter –  a HOME. Warmth. A place to sleep. Adequate means of obtaining such needs. Many fond memories upon which we continue to build REAL relationships among our ‘tribe’. The guidance of God through it all…

– Last – but in no way least – I have a solid relationship with myself. I’m aware of who I am, and I make choices that align with my priorities in life. I remain open to the fact that I’ll continue to discover more about myself with each passing day – and that I can continue to make choices that reflect who I am – and who I am becoming. We’re all here for a purpose – whether large or small. Listening to my intuition and following my heart has meant the world. Confidence stems from within. No one can give it to you – nor can they take it away.


Then there are the things that I’m still reaching for too…
‘Tis a glimpse into some of my current goals.

– I love the natural surrounds we live and camp amongst here in MN – in Summer, Spring, and Fall (with Summer being tops.) I don’t, however, have very much lingering appreciation for Old Man Winter. I’m a wus, what can I say? I’m born & raised – but not so MN-hardy any more. I simply don’t like being cold. I also don’t care much for going out into the cold – even for ‘fun’. I will…. and on certain occasions it’s welcome. But overall – I’d rather not experience our cold and long-azz winters. If they lasted only a few months, and didn’t get SO BITTERLY, breath-takingly frigid, I could deal. But that’s not our reality. If things worked out that way – we’d easily opt for a more moderate (or even a WARM!) climate for the school year, and visit MN again for the Summer months. If nothing else – I get to stay in my warm pj’s if I want – and work by the fireplace with a cup of hot tea…. And, there are always the annual warm-weather travel destinations! So be it. Ahhhh, yes – Gratitude. Contentment. Choosing happiness.

– Still striving for a bit less ‘chaos’ in life…. The running, and rushing all the time…. No over-committing. No obligating ourselves to things unnecessarily. We pick and choose the things we want to participate in as a family – or for the kiddies. They’re not deprived. We’re not missing out. We do the things that hold meaning for us – and we enjoy them more because we can focus and be present. And we intend to do that even more.

– Leaving room for more ‘white space’ – or mental space – and opportunity. Time to just be spontaneous and wing-it. Time to do whatever we feel when we feel like it. Oh yeah…. I love this goal! It’s a work-in-progress. Happens now – but not as regularly as I’d like. 😉

– Disallowing others’ expectations or issues to be projected onto us. (Kind of goes hand-in-hand with the above 2 points.) If people around us are causing us to feel pressured or obligated to something, or if they are feeling insecure or struggling with guilt or otherwise – we simply aren’t going to let that drain OUR energy. It’s not worth it. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. [But we must draw healthy boundaries and make sure we can be supportive, while not being drained. Big difference! On that same token, we have a right to our “no” when we need it – regardless of what others may think. (Self-care is not selfish!) Been working at this…. But must progress more.]

– And then there are things like additional home-improvements. I love to foster an environment that is ‘home’ – welcoming, warm, fun, and allows for creative expansion. It’s reflective of our personalities, and our dreams. A sanctuary. I dig that.

– Grandma’s ring. It’s antique, and needs (costly) fixing to be worn safely. It’s not just a ring. It’s literally a piece of both of my grandparents, and I look forward to the day I can wear it with pride. I took one baby step this spring, when I brought it up in conversation with a local jeweler whom I’d just met. My next step – getting the appraisal. The Universe WILL conspire!

These are just a few examples of some future goals that line up with our core desired feelings and our priorities.


You may have noticed that there are not many physical ‘things’ on these lists. That, too, is intentional. While I do appreciate certain things for the value they bring, and the potential for lending themselves to joyful experiences – my focus is on the intangible. I value memories, laughter, experiences, travel, adventure, connectedness, bonding… When ‘things’ help aid in that process, hold special meaning, or make life more enjoyable – then they encompass the primary purpose, and I do appreciate those things. But things in and of themselves are not of high priority to me. Things are temporary, and so is their joy.

I want more of the ‘things’ you can take with you into the next life: Connections with people (who you will eventually get to see again in that realm), love, and memories. The cupboards and drawers beneath our built-in china cabinet hold dozens of photo albums (all of which are full!) The cabinet itself? That showcases memorabilia… Things that hold some kind of memory – such as our wedding cake topper, odes to nature that I’ve gathered over time, my late grandmother’s beloved red glass, or collectibles given to me by close family members. They are to be enjoyed, and passed down. It also houses my daughters’ various sculptures, hand-prints, and other remembrances of time gone by.


Most worthwhile goals won’t come easily. You need to learn something along the way. And, every decision comes with a sacrifice. (i.e. – our decision to currently live in MN means tolerating some heavy-duty winters!) But you have to decide which sacrifices are worthwhile, and when the goals and growth outweigh them. [Closing eyes, envisioning warm-weather vacations in winter + working by fireplace with hot tea when at home…. and repeat! Joy. Contentment. But still moving forward…]


The journey is significant too. It’s that old cliche’…. But for me – it’s not always about reaching a specific goal. Yes – I move toward them, but I like to keep my heart open to other opportunities along the way. It’s about mini-goals that you achieve all along your path. It’s about Forward Momentum. Movement. Growth. Exploration and moving toward what falls in line with your core. I know that ultimately – these efforts will be rewarding (even set-backs and mistakes)… You have to let the Universe know where you’re going, and then trust that it will conspire with you – if you let it. Believe you can, and you WILL… And God will have your back!

I’m enjoying where I am, where I’ve been, and how far I’ve come. I love having so much meaning in my life. I’m devoted to making the most of it – and limiting our unnecessary time-sucks. Family first. Joy. Emotional space. Love. It always does seem to come back to love. Imagine what life would be like if everything we did truly stemmed from that?

As was promised some time ago – I’ve just recently shared my top 5 (current) CDFs with my loyal subscribers as part of their SUBSCRIBER-ONLY BONUS. (If you want in on this – sign up for free in the box below, or one of my many opt-in boxes throughout this site! I’ll also add it to the super-secret-subscriber-only page – to ensure you don’t miss out!) Those of you on the list have a first-hand account of how I’ve reached for these goals via inner promptings fueled by these CDFs. [I’ll add these to your super-secret subscriber-only bonus page as well. Sign up for instant access if you haven’t already!]

Now you know a bit more about me and what fuels me. I want to know more about YOU!

So it’s time to ask yourself…. What do YOU value? How do YOU want to FEEL? What are some of the ways in which you achieve these? [Time to go in deep!] Give yourself the gift of self-love. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary – and also enables you to give of yourself most fully. So – dig in – and please share below if you’re inclined!

Happy New Year!

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