Memories from the Double Wedding 

September 1st, 2017- the day that my two “little brothers” would get married- dawned bright and beautiful. It was a perfect day, not nearly as warm as many September days, and not a drop of rain in sight. Since the wedding was to be outdoors, weather had been a big prayer request, and the Lord provided above what we could have imagined.

Everyone bustled about preparing that morning, and the anticipation and joy in the air could be felt!

There was plenty of coffee brewed for the family and bridal party milling about the house. Even a wedding day is better with coffee, in my opinion.:)

I will always treasure this picture. Being only 17 months apart, Carson and I pretty much went through different stages of life together. We spent hours playing out in the cow pasture or down by the creek with some mixture of various siblings. Every since about 2nd grade, he was better than me at math, which I didn’t mind because that meant I had a built-in study partner that could explain the problems to me. For awhile there was a bit of a power struggle when we were in our teens, because he was always very mature for his age and a super strong leader. And I, although not as mature, was no less strong and stubborn. But after a rough year or two, things got better and I learned to value his strength and leadership instead of seeing it as a threat. He has provided counsel, leadership, comaraderie, and stability in my life as a trusted friend and my dear little/big brother.

I still remember the night last winter when I was really missing him and just feeling like I was missing out on his life (as he was back home). I texted him and told him just that, and he immediately called me and we talked for an hour. I will never forget that phone call. It was right around Valentines Day, and as we chatted he filled me in on everything going on in his relationship with Carolina. I realized that night how very “in love” he was- falling hard and fast for this Lina-girl.

Carson is an amazing guy, and I always said that he needed a wife that was very strong, practical, and hard working. I somehow thought that a girly girl just wouldn’t be his type, but an adventurous, creative, strong, low-maintenance country girl. Carolina is all that and more. Together they are a dynamic due- they say it like it is, don’t waste time or money on frills, and they can make the pieces fly!

Josh grew up when I wasn’t watching. I distinctly remember that night last August that he said he wanted to talk with Chels and I. I didn’t think much about it, cause we have sibling chats a lot, and I just figured it was something about his college studies or general life. When he said, “Well, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been praying about Cassidy, and I’m planning to ask her”, my heart about stopped! WHAT?! My mind was thinking something like, “My little brother Josh??!!  No way is he old enough to ask a girl!!!!  When did this happen?”

But sure enough, come to find out he was not only old enough to ask a girl, but mature enough too. And after he and Cassidy started their relationship in September, I was amazed to watch him lead her and pursue her heart. It was truly beautiful! The first few times he took her out on dates I was still having a bit of a “Is this really happening?” shock, but eventually reality set in. I treasure all the talks we had during this time. He was always asking good questions, wanting to learn more about how to be the sensitive, caring servant leader that his girl needed.

My  brother, Josh, although steady and laid back, is one of the hardest working men I know. All at the same time, he balanced his relationship with Cassidy, a full time job, and getting his Bachelors degree in Communications in 15 months. It was intense, but I loved watching his tenacity as he would get up in the wee hours of the morning to study, then work hard all day, and take his beloved on a date in the evening. It was as if there was a prize before him, and nothing could stop him.

These two beautiful ladies were THRILLED to pieces to get all prettied up for being in this epic bridal party!!!! What a party it was!

Our two families up there on the wagon, singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, truly felt like a piece of Heaven on earth. My heart was so full, remembering on all God’s goodness and grace leading up to this day.

These relationships had been bathed in prayer, so it made sense that the Big Day would be, too.

Oh, they were so happy to be MARRIED!!!!!

MR. + MRS. AT LAST!!!

The cake cutting was truly hilarious! The caption says it all.:)

Joshua and Cassidy so delicately gave each other a small bite, while Carson and Carolina did a gigantic smash! It was very indicative of their personalities and relationship dynamics.

What a powerhouse each of these couples are.

I love seeing them serving Christ together!

“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3

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When Going with the Sister to Visit the Fiance

When my work schedule changed and I ended up having a few days free that I thought weren’t going to be, I made fast plans Wednesday to head out Thursday for a weekend trip with Chelsy. She was planning to visit her fiance, John, over the weekend, and when I asked her about going along, she said “of course!”. So after working Thursday forenoon, then snagging a coffee date with an out of state friend who was in town, I headed home and joined up with Chels, where we loaded up and headed to Kansas.

We talked pretty much faster than we drove (which might be saying alot:), and enjoyed every minute of the time together. Chels bought us dinner at Subway, which is one of our mutual favorite places for a quick “grab and go”.

Just a little note here: treasure the time with your family. Chels and I are extremely close, and knowing that she is soon going to be moving away makes me all the more grateful for the times we have had and are having together. And of course I look forward to visiting her after she moves to Kansas and making many more memories together. But this little trip together was pretty special, since we’ve done so many road trips together in the past, and now that she’s getting married, our “sister road trip” days are probably at an end.:)

I got to help Chels and John work on their house, which was super fun! It’s alot of work, but one thing’s for sure- these two aren’t scared of hard work! And they sure do look adorable in the process!

And so another road trip with my dear sister is in the books, and I am reminded of what a gift it was. It may have been just a weekend trip to visit her fiance and work on their house, but to me it was extraordinary. 

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be extraordinary, just by doing them with the right people.” -Nicholas Sparks

-Allison

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Memories from Mitchell + Bryn’s Wedding Day

Mitchell and Bryn’s Wedding Day was amazing. I managed to snap a few photos in between all the celebrating! The morning started out bright and early with coffee out with this dear friend from Canada.

Her latte + my Americano. Stupendous, especially after the previous full day and short night!

Mitch and have always been very close, and seeing him marry the love of his life was one of the most special things I’ve ever experienced.

The morning was dragging for him. Since he and Bryn decided not to see each other before the ceremony, he was not only super excited to get married, but missing his girl all morning long! I got to deliver their letters to each other. It was sweet.:)

And seeing my handsome bro all ready to marry his love………was amazing. He looked so sharp, and he was definitely the most excited he’s ever been!

Rebs and I (along with Chels and Liz and several other gals) were bridesmaids. The special room set aside for the bridesmaids, maids of honor, and bride was buzzing all morning with activity as everyone excitedly prepared.

It was a beautiful picture of Jesus and His bride- Mitchell waiting to come for his bride, and Bryn meticulously preparing for the arrival of her groom. It was beyond amazing……truly it was holy. How will it be when Christ comes back for His church? Oh that we would be ready and preparing ourselves with just such love and anticipation as Bryn had that day.

Taylor and I got to walk together in the bridal party.

I think this is my favorite picture of the whole day. The word that comes to mind is “sacred”, because it truly was.

And this is my second favorite picture! Mitchell swept her off her feet, they kissed, and they were off!

“Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let They glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57: 5

Truly, a good and holy marriage brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, and His name is lifted up when a couple builds their union upon Him. The only thing better than Mitchell and Bryn’s wedding day is seeing Christ glorified as they love each other and serve Him together in marriage.

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Basic Investing 101

Hey Ya’ll!!!

I think it’s a little silly for me to be writing a post on investing, since I’m still learning so much about it myself! But since so many of you have expressed interest, I decided to just give you some Basic Investing 101. So first of all, for those of you who are brand-new to the concept of investing (alot of young women are:), here’s the definition:

“Investing”: (v)

“expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture.”

So here are a few things I have learned so far about investing:

1. Read. 

Dave Ramsey is a wealth of knowledge (pun intended!) on the subject of investing in particular, and finances in general. I recommend anyone who wants to get into investing to read some of his books. I love The Total Guide to Money and “The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity” . Another book I loved reading years ago when I was just starting to be interested in this stuff is Rich Dad Poor Dad.

2. Learn from people who have experience, as well as professionals. 

I had my first meeting with an investment professional (the gentleman my dad invests through) at probably 16 years of age. That’s when I started learning about mutual funds, stocks + bonds, and all that good stuff! I would recommend that if you have parents or mentors who have invested over the years, you start by asking them. My earliest lessons on investing were from my father- he was very open with sharing about good investments he has made over the years, as well as some that have totally backfired and resulted in losing money. In addition, I have met with or corresponded with several investing professionals. I also try to take every possible opportunity to learn from people whose financial principles and practices I admire. If you know someone who is hardworking, generous, lives within their means, and seems to have achieved a level of financial freedom (no debt, etc), ask them if you can sit down and ask them some questions.

3. Start investing money every month. 

My dad and Dave Ramsey taught me that it is wise to start the discipline of setting money aside to invest every single month, and the younger you are when you start, the better! Start investing at least 15% of your income monthly. Whether it’s a little money or a lot, the important thing is to START! If you’re a single person with fairly low expenses you can probably do more than 15%, although you need to be smart about what options you choose, as some are better for short term and some for long term, and if you’re thinking of buying a house in the next few years or even just having money available for starting a business or something like that, you don’t want all your money tied up in a high risk fund or one that will penalize you for withdrawing early.

4. Diversify.

Again, this is a lesson from my dad. He taught me that in investing, it is smart to “not put all your eggs in one basket”. That way, if one thing you are invested in goes down the tubes, you haven’t lost all your money. Investing has a variety of means and methods, including: buying or starting a business, acquiring real estate, buying shares in mutual funds, investing in a (small or large) business, or funding a Roth IRA (this can be mutual funds, it just grows tax free for your retirement). Personally, I use a variety of those investing options. One thing to remember is that even with mutual funds, diversity is key. Don’t put all your money in one mutual fund. If you are wanting to get started investing in mutual funds,  I would recommend you look around and maybe meet with a financial advisor who will come alongside you and help not only by investing your money, but educating you and answering any questions you may have. If you want to find an investing professional in your area, Dave Ramsey’s website has an option to find a local Smart Vestor Pro (Dave Ramsey endorsed investment professional) in your area. Another option if the Timothy Plan. They have a variety of funds, and I love that they are a Christian organization based on ethical + Biblical principles.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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Snapshots Of September

 

Hey friends!

Here’s a random collection of photos and memories from the past month. Just some Snapshots of September.:)

It was a really intense month! But I loved every minute of it.:) Obviously, the weddings of my three brothers was an amazing part of the month, but I’m gonna save that for a separate post.

So here you go. Just a smattering of life:

My job held some challenges in September, especially with balancing my hotel work and all the wedding festivities and traveling with my family. But when at times I feel like throwing in the towel with one of my jobs instead of balancing two jobs and a side business, I realize how incredibly grateful I am for all the opportunities that I am blessed with right now. And truly, I LOVE the variety of putting in a 12 hour day at the hotel, and then coming home for an evening of canning salsa and making candles, and then heading off for a singing tour with my family. (And yes, that was an actual scenario.:)

Hiring these two was probably one of the best things that happened in September! Well, actually, they were hired a few months ago, but they started the position a few weeks ago and it has been SO MUCH FUN working with my awesome brother and his sweet wife.:) Joining them in their apartment for singing around the piano was a perfect break one evening at work!

For those of you that may be wondering how this all works and if it means that I am not working at the hotel anymore, here’s the lowdown: Mitchell and Bryn live in the apartment at the hotel and are currently working as part-time general managers (and will be full time once Mitchell’s busy season with his custom manure hauling is finished). Their position is different from mine, and they are actually replacing our previous general manager who moved on to a different career (I and a few others filled that role at different intervals as we transitioned).

I interview, hire, train, and oversee employees, make marketing and advertising decisions, manage renovation + improvement projects, do bookwork, and oversee team meetings + incentives + pay. I love my work and the amazing team I am blessed with!

One evening this sunset was happening while I was working at the hotel, and I just had to keep popping my head out to see the colors changing. It was incredible!

Traveling with my family doing concerts all over is both challenging and rewarding. It’s not a piece of cake every day, and sometimes it’s more like spilled taco salad.:) Particularly tonight: After a long day with three different slots of singing/playing, we had finished the last concert and were eating supper at something like 8pm.  I was trying to retreive an item from an overhead cupboard and my sweet little sis was sitting below eating her taco salad, and one item popped out of the cupboard and bounced down on her plate, subsequently popping parts of her taco salad off her plate and down on the rug. The scenario continued as item #2 and #3 fell out of the cupboard. Finally everything that could had apparently fallen (in quick succession) and I tried to laugh as I started cleaning taco salad off carpet. But really and truly, it’s a good life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

This is my adopted Grandpa who we happen to get to see several times on the current trip. He’s really sweet, and always encourages me and gives me the most incredible gifts. I’m blessed to have so many quality people in my life!

I made a lot of candles and necklaces in September. It’s a fun creative outlet and I love selling and giving away the things I make.

I found a far corner of a church basement to set up my office in one day. Hey- it worked! Getting my hotel work, blogging, and other computer work done on the road is a big challenge some days, but with a little creativity it’s possible.

Lots of coffee! This particular cup was a really yummy freshly roasted, french press brew with fresh jersey cream + whip. I have some friends who do coffee really, really well!:)

This little brother is so sweet. His smiles and sense of humor, combined with a super loving personality, definitely brings a ton of joy to my life!

And that’s it for now! How about you? What were some things you did in September?

-Allison

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