Monday, December 22, 2008

Reason #9 - Hanging out with the Family is twice as fun with my nieces around

So tonight we made gingerbread houses, which is a Randall family tradition. It was some serious fun. My friend Erika came along and she and Nick created some sort of fancy castle, while I stuck to a more rustic theme. I had grand ambitions of creating my own pretzel lincoln logs, which quickly dissolved... but it was still a good time and I was pleased with the result.

As fun as gingerbread houses can be, nothing was more fun than watching the constant entertainment my niece provided. I fed Libby sour watermelons, pretzels, and marshmallows,and made her say my name and make the "fish" face 100 times. There's just something absolutely endearing about hearing a little tiny curly haired girl say "Ray Ray." We've been working on that since she was about 8 months old, so I'm glad to know that it paid off. I think she might have said my name before any other aunt or uncle. I'm not going to say that makes me her favorite, but...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reason #8 - I am determined to love Christmas again

So last year I realized that Christmas suddenly wasn't as special as it had always been. Although I loved the sweet presents I got (how can you not love a set of leopard print mixing bowls), there was a deep emptiness when the present were opened and we all made our way into the family room to plop down and spend a day watching mindless movies and possibly play a few rounds of guitar hero. That was it. All that stress and craziness all for a few minutes of enjoyment and then it's back to real life.

So this year I've decided that no matter how crazy my life has become, I am determined to make the most of this season. I am going to do my best every day to find ways to bring the Christmas spirit into others lives every day, and I am going to find every way possible to bring it into my own as well.

One of the things I'm most excited about this year is to have my whole family together again. There really isn't an occasion quite like those when the entire Randall family is together.

Here are just a few pictures from our most recent family adventure.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reason #7 - I stopped to smell the roses

I have always been stuck in "move on" mindset. That's not always a bad thing. I think I deal with change because I accept that people can't be in my life forever, and goodbye isn't necessarily about rejection. But sometimes I miss experiencing all life has to offer because I don't take the time to appreciate the things that are right in front of me; I'm too busy looking ahead to what is next.

For the last two months I said yes to a relationship that wasn't going to last forever. I met a man who didn't share my same beliefs, but he loved and respected me. I knew all along somewhere in me, that our lives could never connect on a permanent level, because I know that I need certain things in my life he wouldn't be able to give me. But somehow, I decided it was worth a chance.

I want to say that knowing something precious is temporary makes it valuable, because recognizing that it may leave my life tomorrow helps me appreciate what it means today. I loved every minute that I spent with him, and I treasured every memory we made. In fact, every minute was a memory because I wanted it to be.

I served him more than any other man, because I wanted him to see our time together as beautiful. We said goodbye without fighting, without regret, and without hiding our pain or our feelings. We were honest through everything.

I don't know all the reasons we needed to spend a few short months together. But I know that I remember what it feels like to really love again, and I remember how deeply I have a testimony of God. I know that I have no regrets. And I know that I want to treat everyone in my life as if they will be gone tomorrow. Because wouldn't all our relationships be more precious if we recognized that we might not see each other again?