When my oldest daughter got married, we were able to go into the church and reception venue the day before to decorate. Our decorations were elaborate and it took us hours to get everything ready for the next day.
For our most recent wedding, the ceremony and reception would all be at one venue with the ceremony in the rotunda (sun room) and reception in the ballroom. Immediately, this eliminated some of the major decorations. My oldest daughter had envisioned a dance floor that friends built for her, but this place already had a dance floor. In the first wedding, we had to set up tables and chairs, as well as put on the tablecloths. In our recent wedding, the venue set up the tables and chairs exactly as requested and the caterer would supply the table linens and set the tables.
It will be a breeze! I thought to myself.
Oh how naive I was!
We still had to set up the welcome table, the wedding favor table, the card/gift table, the photo booth, the arch for the ceremony, the cake table decorations, and all the centerpieces.
Not as much decorating, but still a lot of work! And we only had an hour to get it all done. Sigh.
I was so excited when the Lord gave me a plan to include the wedding party and family to help plan, make, set up, and tear down the decorations.
The plan helped things to run smoothly and let people serve where they enjoyed serving.
"If things don't go on schedule, we won't be able to get nice photos after the wedding," Jenny Rose sighed.
Oh, dear, I thought to myself. I don't know of any weddings that stay on schedule. My first daughter's wedding hadn't stayed on schedule.
But instead of sharing that with my daughter, I confidently replied, "It will. You'll see."
Over the next six months, my faith wavered, though I stormed Heaven with pleas for my daughter's desire for the wedding to stay on schedule.
I made a schedule that was workable but would depend on so many people. Oh, and did I mention that there were some time-challenged relatives?
In a practical way, I divided decoration set up so that several people worked together, more people than needed so the job would be completed quickly. I wrote up a detailed schedule and shared it with everyone in the wedding party, as well as those helping out. I let the caterer, wedding coordinator, photographer, and emcee know that it was really important to the bride to stay on schedule.
There. I had done everything I could do.
Three weeks before the wedding, I got a phone call from a dear friend who kept finding herself praying for our wedding. She wondered why the Lord kept putting the wedding on her heart to pray. I shared with Felice all the prayer needs for Jenny Rose's wedding and we prayed together.
Hanging up the phone, I realized that Jesus loves me and my daughter. Our desires matter to Him. He raised someone up to pray for us because He loves us. I felt weepy and happiness spread throughout my being. I am loved! I forget that sometimes, but it's true. Jesus loves me. And my daughter.
I kept praying for the wedding schedule among other wedding prayer needs and felt peace come over me.
I have been using Google Maps quite a bit recently as two of my daughters were house hunting. Each of the MLS listings had a Google Map that allowed me to see where it was located.
I would look at the other houses on the street and often switch to Google Earth to see it in a photograph.
Soon I would find myself on nearby streets exploring and discovering streets, houses, and neighborhoods I never knew existed.
It got me thinking.
I realized that Google Maps would be a great way to explore the neighborhood and the world.
Here are some ideas to get you started and I'm sure you can come up with many more.
Explore Your Neighborhood
After exploring other neighborhoods, I realized what fun it would be to explore our own neighborhood. You simply type in your address to locate your house.
It's so funny to see your house on Google Earth. One time we had left some toys in the yard and could see them in the photo.
Once you see your home, you simply expand outward, exploring your street, streets nearby, and soon you will discover streets, stores, and large homes you never knew existed. This is super fun for the adventurous child. Now, of course, when you are finished, you have to get in the car and go see things in person.
We found a beautiful street that looked like a dirt driveway from the main road, but it was dotted with lovely old historic homes. We had so much fun seeing them and imaging who lived in them now and who had lived in them long ago.
Visit Dream Vacation Cities
Some children love a tidy room and others...well...hmm. Let's teach children & teens to organize and clean their world in a fun way. Scheduling can be enjoyable, too.
When we organize, clean, or work on schedules, I try to stay lighthearted and make it fun. I always have a treat afterward like watching a movie or going to the park.
You see, these things are not my favorite things so how on earth would I expect it to be my children's favorite things, but they are part of life so I want to do them with a cheerful heart. My children will see things the way I do, so in training children, my attitude is the most important thing.
Also: how well my children clean their room or stay on schedule or organize their things has NOTHING to do with their value. I never want to belittle my children over these things, but I want to lead them from success to success to success.
In my family, there are messies. I won't name them in case you know them or meet them in person. Messies need more training, but they can learn to keep things mostly tidy. Free spirits can learn to stay on a loose schedule. Everyone can learn to clean.
Here are some blog posts and a podcast on organizing:
Smart Storage to Eliminate Clutter
Organizing Your Homeschool