The fall of 2017 was a busy season in our home.
Our daughter, Jenny, and her husband expanded their family with the arrival of their second son. We rejoiced over the safe arrival of Gilbert Godwyn, an amazing bundle of joy. We also had the traditional busyness of the Thanksgiving holiday with multiple dinners to accommodate the growing family dynamics.
Yet the item on our calendar that kept us all going full throttle was the wedding of our second daughter, Abigail. Slated for 2 days after Thanksgiving, my husband and I were delighted when she asked to have the ceremony and reception on our property.
Making the Plan
As I watched each child grow into adulthood, Abigail seemed to take on my planning gene. With Google Sheets on screen, we began planning this special event four months in advance. With an estimated 150 guests and a special request from the engaged couple to replicate the Chipotle menu while figuring out where to place the tent and wedding arch, following a detail plan was essential. So how did I plan and execute this once-in-a-lifetime event? I did it very much like I plan for a homeschooling year.
First, Abby and I broke down the entire event into categories and created a spreadsheet tab for each. In homeschool planning, I begin similarly by writing down each subject my students need to cover.
Next, we planned a time frame, shopping, and to-do list for each of these categories. In homeschooling, this is the fun part of choosing curriculum, shopping, and determining a day-to-day schedule for assignments.
Mission Critical: Implementing the Plan
Next came the most vital part. Following the plan. Over the course of four months, I began purchasing decorating items while working to clean out different sections of the house for the big event. Slowly, my living room and kitchen began to fill up with wedding items as the date drew closer. Three weeks before the event, I began testing recipes to get the right flavor for the food. Then more planning took place as I began the final two-week countdown.
At one of Abby’s wedding showers, another mom commented about how dreadfully stressed she was at her own daughter’s wedding. I saw the look of concern on Abby’s face as one of her main concerns was not adding stress to anyone’s plate (that’s her personality). In order to ensure a smooth wedding day, I created a day-by-day task list for the final week leading up to the wedding. This allowed me to tackle the most important items each day and rest comfortably each night, knowing I was on target.
How did it all go?
The day was splendid. The weather was perfect, the food spot-on, and I had so much extra time, I went and had a pedicure around 10am the morning of the wedding. (This wasn’t planned, but it was amazing!)
In homeschooling, I’ve had years that mimicked this wedding. We got all the book work done and rested at the end of the year with a sense of accomplishment. There have been other years where it didn’t go so well. As I sit back and think on what makes the difference, it comes down to two vital ingredients: planning and following through. It’s easy to plan (and sometimes over plan), but the difference comes when we stay focused and keep to the plan. This requires wisdom in knowing where to spend energy and where to save it. When to say no to opportunities because you see the bigger picture and know that it’s worth it to see a school year done right.
Whether you’re starting a new school year, launching into the second half, or facing a completely different event or task. may your follow-through be your focus and your success your joy.