10 Things I Love About Home

#1. The Beautiful Countryside

We arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, Monday. I got up around 4am and grabbed up an armload of stuff from the bus, then RAN inside! I was greeted by the most wonderful smells, sights, and sounds of the farm. HOME.

#2. Quiet Places

In the bus, it is HARD to find quiet time to be alone. I try to be creative and make it happen, but some days it ends up being the “quiet” of blocking noise out with earbuds while retreating to my bunk.:) On the farm, it’s not so complicated, because even if the house is loud, there’s the orchard, or the woods, or a field. When we come home I appreciate the simple option of going somewhere to be alone SO much more after the challenges of road life in this area!

#3. My Brothers

Boy, did I miss Mitch and Carson over the summer! There were so many times when I wanted to ask Carson to grill, or fix something, or ask Mitchell for a backrub, or to give me counsel on something. We kept in touch through our phones, but it isn’t the same at all. I am really enjoying the last few days with them before they get married and I never live with them again.

#4. A Kitchen

Having a fully stocked kitchen. Things not going crashing off the counters (as the bus goes around corners). Limitless water for washing dishes. REAL DISHES. Big freezers + pantry with huge variety. I miss these things when we’re gone, and how I am enjoying them once again!

#5. My Territory

I am absolutely LOVING waking up every morning and knowing that I have awesome options for places to run! On the road, you never know from day to day……one morning we are parked in a Walmart parking lot, the next in the sticks of Alberta. While there are opportunities, it takes more creativity and isn’t always available. I have a number of “routes” I am thoroughly enjoying taking advantage of now that we’re home again. My current favorite is running the trail back in our woods. It is beautiful and peaceful. Pretty much like a little piece of heaven on earth.

#6. Change of Routines

I am grateful for the opportunity to once again head out the door for grocery shopping, errands, meetings, church, and events. It’s a change from exiting the bus door for concerts almost daily, but I am enjoying it!

#7. Fresh Flowers

It’s amazing to be able to pick a fresh bouquet of flowers at any given time! I was so excited about getting home to my flower gardens, and one of the first things I did when we got home was go arrange some fresh florals.

#8. Cornfields

The corn grew SO MUCH while we were gone! I was excited to get home and see it in all its beauty, since it was just a few inches tall when we left.

#9. Ordinary Things

There are so many things that I take for granted…..until we go on road and I don’t have them. Then I realize how much I expect certain things and how little I appreciate them. This time around I am endeavoring to be more grateful- to take joy in the “little” things that are actually so big:

Constant running water. Ever-available fresh milk! Big coffee pot. An oven. A big table. Views from the kitchen window. Cows mooing. Breezes through the window. Night sounds. Fresh cream. Plenty of meat in the freezer. Garden veggies. Lonngggg showers (2+ minutes is long in my book). Hot water at anytime. Washer + dryer. Ice.

#10. Bedroom

On the bus, getting ready is downright comical at times! Waiting in line for 5+ minutes for the bathroom or shower, leaning over someone else to see a corner of a mirror, standing in line for a room in which to get dressed……..these are all everyday occurrences. I wouldn’t trade the crazy and hilarious bus memories, but just running into the bedroom to get ready at home? It’s a novel luxury!

 

 

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Best of June

       

June was a humdinger of a month! Full, full days and good, good times.

There were babies to be held (my sweet friend’s newest little one was born just in time for me to meet little Kelly before leaving for the summer.)

And then there was a proposal to help with. Yes, I have always been very close to my sweet brother Mitchell and I was honored to help with the beautiful woodland proposal he planned for my equally beautiful now future-sis-in-love, Bryn. About exactly one year and two months after a memorable car ride home from church in which Mitchell told me he was praying about this sweet girl………..I was running around, drizzling chocolate on cheesecake, strewing a woodland path with rose petals, and finally hiding in the weeds to video Mitchell asking Bryn to marry him. Maybe I’ll write out the whole story sometime……yes?

There was a lot of work to do before leaving on Summer tour- packing at home, errands and office work and team meetings and other projects at work. I loved hiring Chels to help with a big organizing project one day. She is the last word in anything organization related!

As you can guess, ten people don’t leave for seven weeks without a considerable amount of packing! And you don’t lose a lead band member, stage manager, and music practice coordinator without a little pain + hard work, so June also included some long hours of work in transitioning to “Bontrager Family Singers” sans Mitchell.

Right before leaving, there was an epic sibling road trip to be taken. This was a wonderful last memory of our “single sibling band” as we usher in a new era. The “married brothers” one.:) (We missed Josh, but he had other commitments at home, including spending time with his fiance before leaving on tour.)

And after leaving on Tour, there have been early quiet mornings in the bus, many concerts, new beauty of varied skies and waters, good memories of bus life, lots of concerts, laundry, and thousands of miles traveled.

There was also the accomplishment, at last, of a lovely sista coffee date with Liz at a random Canadian Starbucks.

And sprinkled throughout were some of the sweetest memories (of the year to date) with friends and siblings. A few I already mentioned, but there were really too many to count.

And there it is…….a little bit o’ June.

-Allison

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Memories from May

May was a sweet month.  It was a month of blessed days, difficult decisions, hard work, and hard play. All in all, I look back with gratefulness on another month of life and the grace of my Jesus.

I did a lot of study, planning, teaching, and general office tasks for work, and those days were often accompanied by extra coffee (see above). The main things I was learning about were leadership and customer service.  I find these two topics fascinating, and absolutely loved my time spent learning in those areas.

  

One day saw me loading up my sweet younger siblings and meeting up with dear friends at the park (photo on left). Several other days I spent some time with a very dear friend and her little ones, playing, cleaning, and having a generally grand time (right photo).

I always, always eat breakfast, even on mornings when I leave for work before the family eats. Hard boiled eggs, energy balls, cheese, and blueberries was on my menu one morning (left). And middle of the day iced coffee accompanied by the sweetest note from my little sis…..well that made my laundry folding and contemplations a little sweeter! (This extra special gesture also happened during a time when I had extra responsibilities and decisions weighing on my mind, and I thought it was so sweet that my little sis, Elizabeth, was encouraging me like that.)

   

I absolutely love interacting with guests at the Inn, and this particular gentleman was so friendly and interesting.  We had a fabulous time chatting in the hotel lobby (right photo)! Several days were spent spring cleaning and painting verses in all the guest rooms. This project was completed on May 31st, per my goal.

My little brother, Josh, also got engaged in May, which was pretty much the most fantastic thing ever! Watching some very special things happen in my siblings’ lives during this month was incredible. I will be doing a special post about that soon.

And that’s my happy little update on May! June, let’s go!

-Allison

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June Goals

Sometimes you just gotta sit down and do a little dreaming and planning for the month ahead.  At least I do.:) So, first an update on how my May Goals went (completed goals in bold, other have explanations in italics at the end):

  1. Finish memorizing Philippians 1 (recite to Liz with no prompts!) This one is almost done, but I need to recite it to Liz yet. I have self-recited it with little issue, so I’m close!
  2. Run 35 miles- gonna try to snag a little quality time with a sister for a few of these miles.:) This was an epic fail due to a leg injury. I ran a few times, but mostly opted for weight training and other workouts.
  3. Read “Follow You Anywhere: 22 Little Lessons for Team Leaders”
  4. Take the little siblings on a park/picnic date
  5. Execute large cleaning + painting project at work
  6. Write 7 encouraging notes
  7. Interview + hire new hotel team member
  8. Do 6 blog posts
  9. Invest $__ (specific amount of money I want to invest this month) Close….had a technical glitch, but the $$ that didn’t get invested was saved instead.
  10. Schedule time to nurture relationships (cleaning for a busy mamma friend, talking over coffee with another friend, having heart to heart talks w/ the siblings, etc.)

And now on to JUNE!!!!

  1. Memorize first 10 verses of Philippians 2
  2. Finish reading “Sacred Singleness”
  3. Take a gift to a friend at church.
  4. Go on a coffee date with Elizabeth.
  5. Finish staff transition + training before June 15.
  6. Help Mother in the garden.
  7. Get a budgeting app.
  8. Go out for breakfast with Grandma.
  9. Joyfully pack for + embark on Summer Tour.
  10. Go out for lunch with sisters + sister-in-loves.

I could go on and on with my “dreaming and scheming” but 10 seems like a good number. And a few things to keep in mind that help me when setting goals like this:

You CAN’T DO IT ALL. Keep it reasonable, keep it real.

Don’t try to list everything, just the top 10 (or however many) that are either especially exciting, or push you a little extra, or whatever. Some that stand out.

Make sure that you include relationships in your goals.

People tend to be the things that get pushed out first if life is really full (at least for me). Making them a big part of my written goals seems to help keep the most important things in focus.

I wanna hear about your goals! Are there any you are especially excited (or scared:) about?

-Allison

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May Goals

 

It is May already, friends.  My heart is full, the days are full, life is full.  Full of blessings, grace, opportunities, and moments to seize.  It is the people that matter, ya’ll.  It’s the moments we really stop to savor, the times we listen to the Holy Spirit even if it seems crazy.  Taking time to call up that friend and meet for coffee, praying for that person who just keeps being on your mind. There’s always a reason, someone who needs love even when you don’t know why or what they’re going through.

Time is a valuable asset.  If we want to make time for people, we have to be intentional.  Life will happen and we won’t know where the days went, unless we seize them with intentionality.

“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given us.” J.R.R Tolkien

We all have 24 hours a day, but the question is what we will do with it. God gives us time that we may steward it for Him.  He asks us to do everything with all our might, for His glory.  That includes our work, relationships, and even our rest time.

Lack of intentionality with our time breeds regret.

Goal setting is one valuable way to be intentional with the time we’re given. While some people are more goal-oriented than others, I believe it is helpful for everyone to step back from time to time and evaluate where they’re at and where they’re headed.

Today I am going to share with you my 10 key May Goals.  I want to work hard, play hard, and above all, do it all with love. The following are 10 goals that I am setting for this month:

  1. Finish memorizing Philippians 1 (recite to Liz with no prompts!)
  2. Run 35 miles- gonna try to snag a little quality time with a sister for a few of these miles.:)
  3. Read “Follow You Anywhere: 22 Little Lessons for Team Leaders”
  4. Take the little siblings on a park/picnic date
  5. Execute large cleaning + painting project at work
  6. Write 7 encouraging notes
  7. Interview + hire new hotel team member
  8. Do 6 blog posts
  9. Invest $__ (specific amount of money I want to invest this month)
  10. Schedule time to nurture relationships (cleaning for a busy mamma friend, talking over coffee with another friend, having heart to heart talks w/ the siblings, etc.)

What about you?  Do you have any goals for this month?  I would love to hear what you are challenging yourself to do currently!  With Jesus Christ, you are capable of MORE than you know!  He will give us the strength and wisdom to accomplish everything that is His will for us.  I’m cheerin’ for ya!

-Allison

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