Reason to Believe

Dictionary.com provides this definition of “believe”:

Dictionary.com definition of believe

What is it, at the end of a Bruce Springsteen day, I find to believe in?

Given the above definition there is a plethora of items to which I have given my confidence, convictions, and suppositions. Following is a list of the ones that come immediately to mind:

  1. God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
  2. Love – bears all things (my husband)
  3. The Word of God (Holy Bible)
  4. My sons, my parents, and my friends still need me

Most other things fall within those four. For example, I believe strongly in the marriage I am in with my wonderful husband for all the reasons that fall within item 2 in the list above.

My nature is to serve others and knowing that I am still needed by certain people in my life motivates me to keep pressing forward and not give up. As long as I am alive my children have a staunch ally on their side. Where others might fail, I would be there for them. As long as I am alive, they will know they are loved unconditionally, and they have an ally that will fight to the death for them.

I also believe in the sheer joy of food. Particularly pizza. Especially Papa Murphy’s pizza, the enjoyment of which is nearly akin to fantastic “intimate relations” in my humble opinion.

I believe there is a  slice or two awaiting me in the refrigerator at this moment.

I also believe I’ll go indulge. With some fresh veggies, because I believe my steps to a healthy lifestyle include these treats every day. Every.Single.Day.

Of all the things you believe in, which one stirs your heart the most?

 

 

American Psychological Association (APA):

believe. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from Dictionary.com website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/believe

Bing Search Engine:

“Reason to Believe” lyrics. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from Bing.com

New American Standard Bible (NASB):

I Corinthians 13:7; Retrieved January 18, 2016, from Bible.com

website https://www.bible.com/bible/100/1co.13

 © Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

Approach vs Avoidance

One of my favorite blogs, Heart Sisters, recently ran a repeat of an excellent article on why we so often do not heed our physician’s warnings of adopting a healthy lifestyle. You can read the article here: Heart Healthy Advice

My own doctor (the general practitioner) is an aggressive proponent of healthy living and over the years has lost patience with my lack of self-discipline. Although I love his painfully honest style, I find myself avoiding an appointment with him just to avoid the inevitable lecture. The last time I was in to see him (months ago, as I keep postponing my checkup) he gave me a raised-voice talking-to that left me feeling ashamed and very much like a child whose parents love her no more.

Guilt is a life partner that looms ominously in the background to keep me aware of my failures, and this particular doctor appointment fed the monster like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Weeks of ignoring the monster softened the blow, but the trauma remains. I’ll reschedule that appointment, but not until I’ve lost enough weight that “Doc” will be proud of me.

In the past he’s tried the approach goal with me but because of my own lack of self-discipline, those talks yielded no change in my habits. I was plowing through life, full steam ahead, living on caffeine and cigarettes, and eating whatever I wanted in ridiculous proportions. Weekends were a bourbon and food celebration of making it through another week working my butt off in a job that didn’t suit me at all.

After reading the article referenced in the Heart Sisters blog I pondered what might have worked with Doc’s lectures to motivate me to really implement a healthy lifestyle. Counseling, perhaps? A group of friends didn’t work for me; those precious gals couldn’t be with me physically and it was so easy to mislead them to think I was on my best healthy behavior. I honestly don’t know the answer. What would have built my self-discipline enough to win this battle?

Perhaps more self esteem.  Caring enough about myself. Loving myself. Ugh. That’s a subject for another time.

© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

That Permanent Scowl

My mother, who wasn’t prone to smile unless something wonderful tickled her heart, sometimes received criticism from my jolly dad over the years for what seemed to be a permanent scowl etched on her otherwise breathtakingly beautiful face.

Being a Daddy’s Girl, I was quick to jump on a judgmental bandwagon and my respect for her as a strong, independent woman waned. I wanted her to be jolly and strong like Dad and me, without considering the whys and wherefores of the situation.

At 52 I find myself scowling constantly, with the same focused look of pursed lips and furrowed brow whenever I am doing anything that requires physical labor. It makes me think of Mom every single time I realize I’m doing it, and another “twinge” of guilt (as if I haven’t already imposed enough on myself) smacks me in the back of the head like a six foot long two-by-four swung by an orangutan.

This cursed scowl is something new to me in the last year or so and I’m humbled when my thorough analysis of the situation exposes the scowl for what it really is: a dogged determination to get through a task regardless of how much pain my body has to endure or how exhausted it has become in a ridiculously brief time frame. Mixed among the pain and frustration are poison arrows of depression that must be dodged. Depression over not being the woman I want to be, and having become merely a fraction of the woman I once was. Unhappiness abounds.

Oh Mom! My sweet, beautiful, wonderful Mom! Please forgive me. I am so very sorry for my gross stupidity. I’m sorry that I couldn’t find the wisdom, well into my third and fourth decade of life, to understand – or even really try to understand, damn my stupid stubbornness! – why you carried this scowl.

If I had it to do over again, I’d treat you better. I would apply my Irish stubbornness to understanding what made you scowl, and then I’d apply limitless energy to deliver just what you needed to make your life a better place.

You have often called me your “miracle”, and in the 15 years since I moved away you’ve told countless people that I am your light…the sunshine in your darkness…and I am humbled.  I don’t deserve such love. Perhaps you don’t remember all those times when I was less than kind to you. Perhaps your love for me is so great that those times, like the pain of childbirth, has been worth the smiles I have given you.

The love outweighs the…well…everything. A mother’s love outweighs everything. Yes, I know that’s it because that’s how I love my own sons.

I’ll accept the scowl with honor as just one more family trademark and remind myself that this is a sign of my tenacity, my strength, and my unwillingness to shrink away into the darkness. From this day forward, I will stop by a mirror to see the scowl, and I’ll smile at the reflection of my mother.

© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

Why Blog?

Blogs and blogging are on my mind this morning (among the usual dozens of other things whizzing around in my skull) and it occurred to me that part of the attractiveness of writing a blog may be that your readers hold you accountable for the commitments you make. “I’ll _____ and report back” is a line I’ve read more than once in different blogs.

Why do we need an audience with undivided attention keeping track of whether we’re keeping our New Year’s resolutions, or following through with that huge project we announced that we will complete this year?

There is unmistakable appeal to having a cheering section there for us whenever we need one, but isn’t it always a little difficult to accept the constructive criticism no matter how much sugar sweetness is offered as wrapping? Why would anyone want it?

To become a better person, perhaps; to improve upon ourselves and be the best we can be. Let me take that a step further and offer that we’re also bonding with our critics and drawing them out in the open with a specific invitation to share their thoughts and opinions. “You are important!” we cry out to them, “I value your beautiful mind and intentions and want you to share them with me!”  Isn’t it lovely to be wanted and needed?

Blogging fills many needs deep within our psyche that were filled by family in a time when families all lived together in the same house, on the same chunk of land, or in the same village. There was a time when Grandma held you accountable for whether or not your prayers have been said, and Uncle Fred made sure you followed up on your mention of wanting to learn how to rope a calf. Grandpa taught you how to change the oil in your truck and Aunt Louise taught you how to can pickles. Cousin Jim…well…let’s not go into that.

One of the appealing things about moving so many miles away from my family was the freedom to be as lousy a person as I wanted to be without the interference of my family trying to keep me on the straight and narrow. My mother would DIE if she had any idea how horrible I’ve actually been. So immoral that it causes me nausea when I remember those stupid moments.

Had I stayed there, close to home base so to speak, I wouldn’t have ever started smoking and I most certainly would never have been drunk. I wouldn’t have yelled at my children and I wouldn’t have stepped out onto my porch or swam in my pool buck naked (not that there’s anything wrong with this, of course). Because you never knew when she’d be there, right around the corner and ready to catch you in the act. On a lighter note, I hope I never forget the day she walked in the back door of my house (when I did live close to her) and I was drinking a cold beer out of a bottle. That is one memory of her being shocked and disappointed in me that actually makes me chuckle every time it crosses my mind. The look on her face was, truly, priceless.

She’d have never survived seeing me chug whiskey out of the bottle.

Right there under her wing I would have become an amazing mother and would have learned so much more about life through her instead of crashing through life with stubbornness my only teacher and each lesson learned the hard way. What a profound waste of time, money, and other precious resources.

I’m dying now. Literally. At the ripe old age of 50, my heart is worn out and I now have an abundance of time to sit and ponder all these things. It’s likely I won’t live long enough to know my grandchildren. My mom is a wonderful grandma. She’s a wonderful mom, too. I wonder…if I had stayed close to home base, would I be dying now? Or would I be still full of life, working happily and full steam ahead, taking care of my family – and my parents – as I always dreamed I would one day do?

With a heavy sigh, I have to admit I don’t know the answers. All I know is that I am so grateful for those that would read my writings, offer their insights, and share a little bit of themselves with me so that I can become the best person possible…in the amount of time I have left.

 

© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016