Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's Christmas!!!

I've been a bit reflective at Christmastime this year. Well I guess I often am this time of year. Some might think I'd be sad this time of year, and I understand many people in this world are sad who have been through a lot in life. But I'm not sad, just reflective. I think of the past, my memories, traditions, times with family and friends. I have had such great memories, and Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. My traditions have changed, and seem to continue to change with each passing year now, as my family has changed. However, I can still look at the past with peace and joy.

I was putting up my big artificial Christmas tree earlier this month, pulling it down in various pieces from the attic, carrying boxes of lights and decorations and ornaments downstairs. I had my Christmas music playing loudly on my computer. It reminded me of when I was younger; my mom and I would always put up the artifical Christmas tree and all the trimmings, and we'd always have Christmas music playing. Except instead of the music playing on the CD player or on the computer as I did this month, we played records on a record player. No, really. I realize that makes me sound WAY older than I am, but we had a record player for several years, complete with records that actually worked!

We would also put lights up outside, on the stairs and along the house, over the doors, around the lightpost, hanging wreaths, adding other items annually like an outdoor nativity scene and candycanes and snowmen. I still feel like my house isn't completely decorated for the holiday season unless I have my outdoor lights up and working too. Usually, we wouldn't get around to putting up the lights until it was really cold out, and then we'd come in and warm up, and have hot chocolate. This year, I took advantage of some late November warmer weather and put the lights up then- it worked great!

The time we have set aside to have Christmas as a family has changed over time, as our family changes. We used to always have a big family dinner, complete with evening desserts, cookies, etc., on Christmas Eve. Stockings would be dug into on Christmas Day morning.

Later at night we would always go to our church's evening candlelight and carols service. I've kept that part of the tradition nearly every year, going to church late Christmas Eve, singing many traditional carols, seeing familiar faces in the flickering lights of candles, some friends home from far away or from school. The last carol was always "Silent Night". Every one would sing it, a capella, and at the end we would all blow out our candles. There was always silence for a moment or two afterwards, as if everyone was holding the magic of the moment, the silence and the holy night. Then the lights would gradually come up.

Later, after the service, I'd catch up with old friends, as most people my age would do. Small groups were dispersed throughout the sanctuary, hugs were freely given, many smiles shared. We would all enjoy our time together and our mini-reunions.

While I didn't attend the service this year because of my schedule and family plans, I felt like I was there in spirit. I remembered in detail how the previous years' services had been, how it was so comfortable and fun to be in a place where I knew so many people. And I remember it with joy.

Though so many things change every year, I will just remember with joy what past Christmases have held. Perhaps you too will be reminded of some of your past Christmases and cherished memories. I wish you a blessed Christmas season.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas

I don't know where this month has gone. Time is flying by.

I always am really into all the Christmas stuff- decorating, tree, lights, shopping, movies, music, etc. I enjoy the Christmas season.

This year, I've done far less than I usually do. I've got my Christmas tree and village up, and my outdoor lights. I've finally baked some cookies and all. I went to one Christmas concert last week. I've been listening to some Christmas music, just in the last week or so. I haven't been to the mall at all this season! Much of my Christmas shopping was done before December or online this year.

So, for whatever reason, possibly because of my busy schedule this year, I am still trying to grasp how Christmas can possibly be just over a week away! I'm also trying not to join the multitudes of people that are so stressed over this season, which is part of why I've been avoiding malls and crazy shopping days. I'm enjoying this Christmas, still watching an occasional Christmas movie or music and stopping by some shops to browse and shop. But, I'm not getting caught up in all the stuff there is to do- wrapping, shopping, parties to attend, baking to do, guests to prepare for, etc. I'm not getting caught up because I know I'll continue to enjoy Christmas this year if I keep the joy of the season. I'll keep the calm and pleasant attitude through the chaos of the season, even if I'm serving customers that are stressed and too busy with all the holiday "stuff".

Christmas will be great this year- 2007!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Daily To-Do Lists

I am a nearly professional list-maker. Or maybe just crazy. Either way. I make a list at night for the following day each day, and sometimes another list while at work doing other things to remind myself of things to do later.

In some ways, I guess it means I'm organized. I make a list of all the things I want to accomplish, and then I set about trying to do them all. That makes sense. The only problem with this is that I work a LOT!! And most of the things on my list are personal or house projects. So, I think I'll get my entire list done in one day. But, really, I don't finish it all until 2-3 days later. And so I cross a few things off, add a few things, and on it goes.

I think the main reason I make lists is because I have so many tasks/errands, etc., that I want to accomplish daily/weekly, whatever, and then I just have way too many things going on in my head. So, if I at least write them all down, I have a better chance of getting my brain to relax, and I'll remember what the things are better when I write them down. So it's ok if the list's not all checked off, it just helps clear my head to get it all out on paper.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's November- Give Thanks!

It's November, which, to me, is always the grayest, darkest month of the year, a bit depressing. Especially when I love to be outside in nice weather. Something about being in nature, hiking or walking or whatever, is always refreshing to my soul and spirit.

I was thinking recently of starting some sort of tradition and thinking of all of November as a "Thanksgiving month". Now, everybody gives thanks on Thanksgiving Day, we all know that. But, I was thinking it would be interesting to think of gratitude and giving thanks throughout the entire month. We can thank God for all we've been blessed with. Even if things are hard for you, I know if you think of your past, you can think of a long list of things to be thankful for.

Besides just feeling grateful, we can also think of small ways we can give to God and to others as well, with our time, talents, and possessions. I thought of giving some books and things I never use to charity, or volunteering one day for a winter coat drive, or making cookies for a friend or neighbor. There's so many ways to bless others. And as we bless others, we can give thanks for all the blessings we've received.

Happy Thanksgiving Month!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Holidays?

I was working one of my three jobs last night as several coworkers came in to set up all the Christmas merchandise and decorations. It's November 8!! It was just Halloween! Wow, Christmas comes earlier every year. One customer said to me last night "I like Christmas, but I don't like the holiday season."

There is some truth in that. I like Christmas, it's my favorite holiday. And I like that the Christmas season lasts over a month. I like decorating, making Christmas cookies, spending time with family, sending Christmas cards, etc.

What I don't like is what the world does to the holiday season. They make Christmas stressful, materialistic, and selfish. There's Santas and reindeers and snowflakes, and it's increasingly difficult to find the Christian symbols. The ads and malls and everywhere you go tell you to buy more, spend more, get the best and most expensive gifts, or else it just won't be a good Christmas for you or your family. Well, I still think I would have a really good Christmas, even if I didn't go shopping at all the entire month or if I didn't get any gifts.

The reason for Christmas is about Jesus Christ, to celebrate and remember his birth. He was born into this world as a human, born in a barn, because there wasn't room for him or his family in the town or inns. Now, the world still doesn't seem to want to make much room for him or his family, do they?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Flickr Photo Page

I've created a photo page where I'll download several photos for you all to see. The link is below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisonrentschler/

Fall

It's definitely fall now. I noticed the first leaves changes on September 3. Now, suddenly all the leaves are falling from my trees, orange, red, and yellow leaves. Where did the last month go? Fall to me always represents a change, as the weather cools and leaves change, so does my life and schedule often change. It used to be a new beginning, with school beginning every fall, the excitement of new classes and classmates, etc. Now, I still think about how each fall will be a new beginning. This year, I've begun a new job at Mayo in public affairs. It may just be a temp job, but I think it will continue on. I'm being optimistic. I've also been writing more, and am trying to work on getting published more. I don't know about you or where you are in life, but think about the changes of seasons, and how they can be the opportunity for a new and exciting change for you. So, enjoy your fall! Even if you're somewhere where the change of seasons is not so obvious as it is here!

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's Friday!

It's Friday, which apparently a lot of people in "office world" look forward to. Unfortunately for me, I have many jobs, most of which are the busiest on weekends. So I work Friday night, Sat. afternoon, Sat. night, Sunday afternoon, Sun. night. I don't have any days off on the weekend, this week, so Friday is just, well, Friday. Someday I'll appreciate Friday, and I'll have weekends off. That would be awesome!!
There is one highlight, I don't have to get up at 6 am for 2 days!
That's all for now!
Alison

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My First of Many Posts

Hey it's me. So I just randomly decided to start a blog. Many people ask to hear about my travels, see photos, or just read some of my writing, so I thought hey, I'll start a blog. I don't always have super interesting stuff to say but sometimes I do!
Let's see. I traveled to Washington DC a couple weeks ago and had an awesome time with my friend Carrie (my long-time travel buddy). We stayed with my great-aunts out there. We saw all the major sights, memorials, monuments, museums, etc. Also, we went to a free outdoor concert on the Capitol Lawn, with a performance by the National Symphony, which was really cool. Tons of locals were there with lawn chairs and blankets and snacks. Fun times. I think what I liked best was just walking around outside, down the Mall, just enjoying the nice weather and relaxing and not working.
Speaking of work, I work a lot. I'm not a work addict, no way. I LOVE to sit and read and write in a comfy chair in a coffee shop. It's just I'm trying to make some money now while I have time to, and I'm trying hard to find jobs that use my talents and gifts as well. So I work lots, lately 60 hour weeks. I love to be active in my job and to be around people. Most of my jobs involve these things so it's all good. I usually don't get tired til I get home, then I crash.
That's all for me for now :)
Hope somebody reads this!!
Alison