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Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

They say that we give the gifts to others that we want for ourselves, and so I took this to heart this Christmas with regards to gifting for my hubby.

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Years ago … at least six years ago … I had gone that first time to try out a therapeutic massage covered by the health care plan at my work. It was amazing, and I later told hubby of my spa adventure. I am sure that as hubby was hearing my story of extravagant pampering the wheels in his head had him convinced that his annual tradition of ‘failing’ (his word, not mine) when it came to Christmas gifts for his wife, was about to turn to great success.

Although I did enjoy the experience, it was not a very comfortable place for me, as I felt a bit like a fish out of water in an environment of such luxury. From my point of view, once was enough … but I had failed to mention this fact to my very well-intentioned hubby.

So, when Christmas rolled around, a beautifully wrapped, generous gift card to a spa that I had gone to once, and had spoken so glowingly of at my premier visit, was to be my gift from the man who tries so desperately to please.

This lovely, generous, well-intended gift has sat in and on my dresser for at least six years, causing frustration and bitterness every time it would be within view of my guy.

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But no longer would it gather dust.

Weeks before this past Christmas I made the brilliant decision to re-gift hubby’s spa gift card … to him!

I went in to the spa, ensured that the balance of the card was as I had remembered, and booked a couples massage appointment.

So, yesterday, hubby and I went to share in the gift of Christmas past, as well as Christmas present.

Total and complete relaxation, being pampered and cared for in total and complete luxury, convinced me that the spa, not the ‘Magical’ place is the happiest place on Earth!

When we stepped out over two hours later, we both felt refreshed and relaxed. Gone were the years of gift ‘failure’ and feelings of rejection for the unused, unappreciated gift … all were replaced with the joy of sharing in the gift of well-intentions.

And, so often that is our problem when it comes to our relationships … the love and joy get lost in the misunderstanding of the intentions of the other person. We spin our own version of the gift; his that he is a failure, mine that he does not know my heart. But, in being able to share in the gift, to share in the well-intentions of each of us, joy can be shared … together.

In re-gifting to hubby the gift that he had given to me, we were both able to receive the gifts we both wanted most, enjoyment and time together.

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The language of adolescents would seem to be technology. They talk and text and FaceTime and Tweet and game, and then there is social networking!

I had an interaction the other day with my son. I could tell by the way he closed (slammed) the van door, after school, that he was not in a good mood. It took everything within me to not respond … verbally, angrily with his over use of adolescent muscle on my van door. Working in a high school, I know that to respond to anger in a teen, who is angry, is only going to elevate the level of anger. So, I did what I often do … I bit my tongue (it really should be severed in two by this point in my life … come to think of it, maybe this is what is meant when the Bible speaks of the tongue as being a double edged sword … maybe it has less to do with double edged, and more to do with heavy duty steal … but, I digress).

Once we were home, and he and I were alone for a moment, I took a deep breath, and asked (nicely) if he wanted to talk. He said, “no, not now, it was a crummy day.”

So, I let he and his ‘surly’ mood have space (physically and emotionally). The difficulty in giving him space though, is that as a woman, and a mom, one could not get much more inquisitive. All I really wanted to do was to get to the bottom of his bad mood.

Once he had some space (that is spent in his bedroom … his turf), I did what I often do in these circumstances. I knocked at the door, and ‘asked’ if I could enter. I brought a glass of water to him (it is my entrance fee …). Then, I asked if there was anything I could do to help improve his day (I ask because it helps the adolescent feel in control, and chances are he did not feel in control earlier in the day … this is empowering for them).

Sometimes tears start to flow at this point, sometimes a silent shake of the head, sometimes they are already okay, and life has moved on to brighter skies. It is a rare thing that they do not share what their day has held, and where their sorrow originated.

So, he told me his tale of woe … and I listened. The world would not have stopped for his great failure. His iTouch would not have wanted to hear his story. If he Tweeted it, or FB’ed it, or whatever else technology could have offered him it would not have come close to what he wanted, what he needed the most …

What my son, and any other son, or daughter, needs most, is a listening ear, and “I love you,” in response, and a big ‘ol mama hug.

The language of adolescents is NOT technology, the language of adolescents is the same as the language of us all … LOVE!

To be heard, to be loved, to be shown affection and acceptance, despite our behaviors … that is what we all want, what we all need.

The language of love is the language that we, as humans, live for! It is how we are wired, it is how we were created!

And, although I am only sharing one story of parental success in the midst of far too many failures for this one mom, I do believe it is in following with the example of Christ.

God loves us. He loves us not depending on our behaviors, but despite them! He loves us, because he knows that we are worth loving. And if I, whose behaviors are so poor, can be loved by the God of this universe, then I need to ensure that the behaviors of the adolescents in my life, are not keeping me from speaking their language.

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Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

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