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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A Few of My Favorite Things

This is just a random post with a few snapshots of some recent blessings + joys. This morning my amazing father brought me a huge cold pressed coffee at work, “with lots of cream”, and it was so good. Even more, it totally blessed me that he is thoughtful like that. I am pretty blessed to not only have the world’s best dad, but a pretty awesome boss too!

What’s better than dark chocolate and tea during the evening? It could become a ritual!

A little candlelight dinner with my little sis.

The sunsets through the window at the hotel (where I work) have been incredible! I love watching the sky change colors, and I have the perfect view of the sky through the windows facing the west.

My really kind + thoughtful brother brought me roses. All the sweet things he said were enough to make me cry, and I did shed tears as I was enveloped in one of his sweet big hugs. How I love Mitch and all my dear brothers. He’s such a solid man, and knows how to make a girl feel loved.

A little quiet in the morning to get in the Word……some fresh air……and a good mug of strong coffee…….that’s the powerful way to start a day, in my opinion! Truly “His mercies are new every morning”, and that’s something I am really so grateful for.

What are a few of your favorite things of late?

much love,

Allison

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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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