Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I'm Teaching Naked"

Wait, let me explain... as Megan was packing all her school supplies to start her first year as a "real" teacher she realized it would be far easier to teach naked than to try to cram ALL her supplies into her 2 suitcases! At the last minute I told her to pack a 3rd suitcase and just pay the fee, but when we got to the airport there was a 2 week embargo limit on luggage (guess which 2 weeks?) So she could take ONE suitcase and we paid for a 2nd one and shoved the contents of her 3rd suitcase into pockets, a backpack and a pillowcase. Sorry to say, the pillowcase didn't make it... moment of silence!

So today is her first day as a 3rd grade teacher. Someone stopped me at church and lamented the fact that we had kids with adult jobs - how could this be. When Cam announced the fact that she had accepted this job in the Dominican Republic he said "I guess this is what happens when you take your kids on missions trips" And he is so right.

As we drove to the airport with our good friend Janet, I realized Megan was more prepared at her age, than I had ever been. We passed the parking garage once, entered the airport at the wrong entrance and when I turned to Janet to make sure she had remembered where we parked she looked at me with the same blank look I had on my face. It was Megan that directed us to the garage, calmly reentered the correct location and reminded us it was P4 - or something like that! I'm sure she was worried Janet and I would never make it home!

Yes, she is ready. All her exposure to new situations has given her a confidence beyond her years. I was reading Bill Hybels book "Whispers" where he tells the story of his Dad buying him a plane ticket when he was 15 years old to travel the world - Yikes!  But his Dad knew him and knew that would be a good life lesson for his son - today he is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America and he credits his Dad with helping him think beyond his years.

Pushing our kids beyond their comfort zone is an excellent way to prepare them for life. Letting them struggle and problem solve on their own, will only make them stronger adults. And isn't that what we want for our kids? As sad as I was to drop Megan at the airport, I couldn't help thinking about the alternative - a lazy adult living in my basement, too worried about failure to try something new.

So as she starts her first day teaching (with clothes on) I pray that she will continue to grow in all aspects of her life - not just ones that make cents and sensibility!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wedded Bliss

A couple of months ago I got a phone call from my friend Laureen. She was getting married and wanted to know if I could help with the wedding - a.k.a. be the wedding planner. I immediatly accepted because I knew that Laureen and I were of the same thinking - plan a marriage, not a wedding!!

She is in her last year of nursing school and her fiance Jon has been working at a Christian School - so the budget was low, but the creativity was high!! And since her secret goal has been to make my blog, I share with you their special day!
So here is the beautiful couple - Jon and Laureen
And that is my beautiful daughter Megan to the left - there is love in the air!

First stop Trader Joe's to pick up 7 boxes of sunflowers - they had the best price and the flowers were beautiful. We found that any room looks better with flowers and the more flowers, the better so I was glad that we had more than enough and could be creative with them. They came in black buckets which we used to put the extra flowers and arranged them outside the church on cement pilons.

We lined the walkway from the church to the reception with mason jars filled with sunflowers - this looked so beautiful and really made a statement. I would definatly do this idea again. We put them outside right before the wedding began to save on wilting.
The flowers were arranged at Jon's house (in his bedroom with the air conditioner set on high) Laureen had bought 30 clear vases of various shapes at the thrift shop. We then transported them over to the church. Laureen's dad volunteered to help us and as we loaded  his van he commented that he probably wasn't the best person for this job, since he is allergic to flowers. Suck it up Mike :)

Guests were invited to take a vase of flowers home with them.
On each table were prayer rocks with the bride and grooms initials. Guests were invited to take a rock home to remember to pray for this couple.

 These were the bouquets the girls carried. They are wrapped with twine to compliment the burlap theme.

At the bottom of the picture you can see a sunflower pinned onto the chair. We pinned one on 4 of the rows so the ushers knew where to seat the family. This looked pretty and held up well.
This is Laureen's sister Jeanie walking down her sister Sophie and Jon's nephew - JJ. He was carrying a pillow made out of burlap - that pillow set the theme for the rest of the wedding!
Laureen and her dad - they were so sweet waiting to walk down together. Part of my job was standing in the back and telling people when to walk and in what order and if they should bring both feet together - no on should have that much power!

 The stage at the church had a screen to hide at the worship band instruments. We strung a garland of flowers across the front and hung mason jars with candles in them (it's a little hard to see but it looked great) We had stools covered with burlap on either side and put a vase of sunflowers on them. In the center is the unity candle.
 There were 16 round tables and 4 long tables. We put on beige table clothes and runners made out of burlap. In each flower I stuck a table number. We had a banner flag theme going so I bought skewers and used pretty paper to cut triangles, poked two holes in them and slid the skewer in place. We wrote on the flag with a puffy paint. There were no table assignments, but the DJ called tables to get food.
 This is in front of the kitchen - it is a metal slide down door - ugly - so we hung up burlap and then decided to collect some wedding photos from some of the guests (this was done on Tuesday!) We then made a game of guessing who the pictures were - that was fun and funny! We strung a set of lights right above the pictures so you see better.

Another window opening that we covered and decorated.

Between the wedding and the reception the guests were invited to play yard games - croquet, wiffle ball, bocce,etc. We had these coolers outside and I had sewn these covers to hide the "orange". Then we strung the flags to let the guests know what was inside. Guest could also help themselves to soft pretzels. We could have used 2 more coolers since it was pretty hot that day.
 The gift table - there is a wooden trunk to collect cards.

The buffet table - they had chalkboards to let you know what food there was and flags were in the hoagies to let you know what kind you were taking. A long burlap runner went down the middle.
 The dessert table was a personal favorite. Laureen's mom and aunts baked and baked - everything was delicious. They had a cake that they cut, but the homebaked goodies went quickly. We filled 2 big jars with cookies. Strung along the front of the table is a flag that says desserts.
Here I am taking a little break and enjoying the moment.
 The "dance floor" needed to be set apart, so Jon strung bristro lights from the ceiling - it looked really cool and made a fun place to dance. At the end of the night, we just cut the twine and wrapped the lights up. They plan to hang them in their apartment.
They also had a photo booth that doubled as their guest book. After you received your picture, you could tape it into their book and add your personal message. Included on the table were scissors, markers and stickers to make your page special. This was a great idea and the line to get in was always long!!
This wonderful couple met their goal - they had a meaningful, beautiful, unique wedding without "breaking the bank".
And we all know that makes cents and sensibility!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missing My Man

Of course I am missing Cam, for all the obvious reasons, but there is a surprising reason why I am missing him - My bed in not being made - no, this is not code for anything, simply put my bed sheets are in shambles.

Sometime ago we fell into a comfortable routine - Cam would make the bed every morning. Knowing what a neat freak I am, this may surprise some of you but since I am also an early riser it has made more sense. Cam kind of frowned upon me waking him up at 6am so I could make the bed. So he took over that household chore.

He has always said that I could fall asleep on a pile of dirty rags, but secretly I just like when HE straightens out the covers and makes the bed look nice! Everybody needs a job!

So this brings me to another story - so many of you enjoyed the story about the repair man folding the laundry (see "One of Those People" post) that I thought I would tell you another story about this incredible lady! She once told me that her kids had to keep their rooms clean, but they didn't have to make their beds - this peaked my interest - no bed making? Why? Everyday she would make their beds and spends that time praying over them - that they would make good choices, be pleasing to God in all they do, safety, etc.

Isn't that a great idea!

I can't say that I totally adopted it, but I have from time to time gone into my kids rooms and done just that - instead of mumbling under my breath, I take the time to thank God for the children He has given me while I straighten up their beds.

So maybe that is why I am missing my man so much - that care and attention he takes to make our room look nice reminds me of how much he loves and cares for me!

Well, it's almost noon - better go make my bed!! And instead of missing him, I will pray for him and the ministry he is doing in Montenegro.