Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Randolph-Sengs

 Our Christmas Tree

 Our gingerbread house. 

Below: Pictures taken at Luke's Christmas Piano Recital.

 Christmas lights at our house.

 Merry Christmas! No cards this year. We didn't get pictures made and I imagined you opening the card and saying, "No picture? Lame." So maybe next year. Until then...

 Showing the loot from stockings with Daddy. 

Two of the videos we made for family on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Spirit...NOT

In line today at Walmart, I somewhat-yelled at Luke, "NO. We are not getting anything for you today!"

Another exemplary moment:
Luke and Brandon were arguing about something yesterday morning while getting ready to go do one of our Christmas traditions. I went out there and yelled, "I am tired of this! I am tired of dragging your butts to Christmas cheer!"

{Just this week I was telling Luke and Petey not to say butt. Or, in Petey's case, not to say bott.
"Honey, say bum instead."
Petey: "No, bott."}

Anyway, Luke and Brandon actually made up right away and were sweet and cheery while I simmered for a little while longer. (eyes rolling.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Poem

I found a new blog- Chronicles of a Country GirlI haven't had time to explore it, but she has really beautiful photography. She lives in Maryland (I almost typed Virginia, because that's how I felt looking at the photos.) The above photo of the cardinal was copied from her site. There were others I loved, but this one is good to accompany this poem (which I found at, a sister site to Simple Homeschool, a site I like.)

I Heard a Bird Sing
by Oliver Herford
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember
‘We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

We are nearer to Spring than we were in September. That can apply to certain seasons of our lives, I think.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I need to learn how to stand in the puke when there is no puke, or what I learned this week from the scriptures.

Recognizing that my mothering does not always align with my feelings of love for my boys, I asked Heavenly Father to help me to love Luke more like He loves him. Tuesday night as I prayed, I had a nudging thought that to love him more like that, I'd need to serve him and it might be hard, but I knew I really needed this blessing.

Wednesday morning, I read from Matthew, chapter 14 where Jesus learned of the beheading of John the Baptist, and he "departed then by ship into a desert place apart." But the people thronged to him. He couldn't mourn immediately, or privately. Or at least he chose not to. "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." I stopped reading at “compassion,” and I repeated to myself, “Jesus had compassion.”

At breakfast, Luke didn't eat very much and he said his tummy felt bad. By mid-day, he was throwing up. Twice, he made it to the toilet. Once, I wasn't so lucky. He almost made it. Having reached the tiled bathroom floor, he vomited again and again, a substance more like water than puke, clear and orange-y smelling. His small frame, made smaller in his extremity.

He sat in the tub while I cleaned. Quietly he said, “I’m sorry Momma.” 
“Why are you sorry?” 
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the toilet.”
“That’s okay, you couldn’t help it.” 
I said it kindly, and honestly. I really meant it. I had rolled my jeans up like a pirate, and was standing in puke. And I loved him more than I loved myself. 

I cleaned and disinfected. (I washed my feet.) I carried a bundle to the laundry. By six o'clock, Luke had fallen asleep on the bed in our "art room." (Yes, a bed in the art room. Disaster lurks around every corner at our house.) 

When his father came home, he gave him a blessing.

The next morning, Thursday, Luke was better. He was chipper and playful and totally fine.
That morning I read the remainder of Matthew 14. Jesus feeds the five thousand, and then sends the multitude away and sends his disciples to get into a ship. And, "...he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

I don't know why this moved me so much, but finally Jesus gets to be alone. I guess I felt a little bit of compassion for Jesus.

"But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."

"And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."

When I've read this passage before (and what follows), I’ve always been struck by Peter’s impetuous nature, going to the Savior on the water. I've always been struck by the need to keep my eyes on the Savior lest I sink into the water. I've always been struck by the Savior who immediately rescues Peter. But this time, as I read this passage, I noted the footnote of verse 25, which explains that the fourth watch is between three and six in the morning. That is so late. I've needed the Savior to come to me in the literal late hours. 

He did not come immediately, but he came. And I think He knew He would come. And so when he asks Peter, “wherefore didst thou doubt?” I think He’s saying: I am the Savior. I am a sure thing, surer than the water that sucks you under, surer than any inky depths. How can you doubt me?

And I think He is saying that to me:  I am the Savior, and I am a sure thing, surer than any water, or devil, or trial, or inherited personality trait. I will save you and I will save yours; my promises and our covenants are sure.

I had asked Heavenly Father to help me to love Luke more like He loves Luke. First, I need to serve him, and maybe not in a fluffy, “I made you cookies!” kind of way. I need to serve him when he needs it. And I need to feel his need in a personal, not removed, kind of way --standing in the puke, so to speak.

And I need to love him from a faithful place, not from a place of fear, knowing that Jesus will walk on the water to me or to Luke, and even if it isn't until the fourth watch, it will still be okay. 

(By the way, I do not believe that Luke was struck with a stomach bug just so I could have an obvious object lesson.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Brandon's bike got stolen--again. Yes, yes, I know he should lock it up or put it in the garage. But he forgot. He probably forgot because when he got home around seven last night, he came in, immediately had dinner with us, did some dishes, then went to work applying for a few new jobs.

He was up this morning at six, and by seven, he was ready to go. It's really dark when he gets up in the morning.

I have been thinking about being thankful even when things don't go the way I hope. For example, Brandon has an interview coming up!!! For a few days, in my mind, he already had the job. And I felt thankful. But, I'm going to try to remember to be thankful even if it doesn't pan out.

I know Heavenly Father has a plan for us. In the past, the plan has consistently not followed what I think should happen. But we have felt the Lord's hand over us and seen Him make a way when there was no way. And I'm going to try to remember that, even while a teensy part of me trembles at the thought that He's only just begun to work on us.

Worth five minutes of your time, even if you've already seen it. (Click twice to see it better.)