And whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5

Monday, August 31, 2015

If the Shoe Fits...Fashion Tips For Sunday School Teachers

Sorry guys, this one is mostly for my ladies. ;)

  So, as Sunday School teachers we tend to swap snack and storage tips, or ways to get a child involved in the lesson. However, we never seem to talk about fashion. Growing up as a very shy and introverted child (my how things have changed lol) I would use fashion as an outlet to show the world who I was without actually having to tell you didn't know your closet could be that deep, huh? lol So, I've always loves fashion, but I found my style had to change rather drastically once I became a Sunday School teacher. Sundays were always my days to wear something new I'd bought or rock those high-heels that I don't get to wear during the week. It became very apparent that that was no longer an option once I became a teacher. So, I had to adapt. Now, don't get me wrong everyone has their own style so please don't disregard this post just because you don't like the color of a sweater or don't wear high-heels. Because, I'm going to be focusing more on fit and function than fashion.

Tip 1.
Adapt your outfit depending on the type of class you're having. Example, if I'm playing games outside and making a messy snack I'm not going to wear my new dress heels.                                      
So, I'm wearing something comfy and easily cleanable or, worst case scenario, replaceable.
<<<<<<Like this.>>>>>>
Also, if I'm having a more relaxed class I like to take the opportunity to wear a cute dress or fun pair of shoes.

Tip 2.
Shoes have always been my favorite, especially high-heels. I LOVED my stilettos, the higher the better! Buuuuut after leaving class with blisters on my feet I knew the first thing to change in my closet was going to be my shoes.
So, I recommend having three go to styles in
your wardrobe...

1. The Flat
This is your all-purpose every season shoe. You can wear it with pants, shorts, dresses, skirts, you name it. Make sure it's something neutral that will go with everything. Trust me when I say your feet will thank you for buying flats! lol

                                                 2. The Dress Sandal

You can go as simple or as crazy as you want with these, but they're a must have for me; especially in the summer. I prefer sandals over flip flops, personally, because they tend not to rub your feet as much.

3. The Wild Card
Have at least one pair of shoes in your closet that just  make you feel confident. For me this would either be my wedge heels or my combat boots. My heels give me that extra girly flair that I need sometimes. The wedge, while not as comfortable as a flat, makes it much easier to walk and play with my kids than my stilettos from back in the day would. Still I would reserve wedge heels for a more relaxed lesson. My combat boots add a little sassy flair to my dresses while still being comfortable. I'm also a big fan of TOMS since they go with casual or dressy outfits. Or, if you're more of at the tomboy type you can never go wrong with a great pair of sneakers.  

Tip 3.
The way you dress and present yourself is the first impression a person gets of you. You may not be in to fashion, and that's perfectly ok. But you can not be into fashion and still look nice and professional. Looking neat, clean, and professional is the goal here. So, if you're female in particular, this means wearing shirts and dresses with a modestly cut neckline and skirts and dresses that come at a reasonable length. A good rule of thumb is if you can't bend over in it you can't teach in it. So, so far we're looking for something professional, modest, and comfortable. Note: all of the following images are just examples you can mix and match according to you style and budget. I shop every where from department stores to thrift stores. I just go with what fits my style and budget at the time. Also, my secret shopping weapon is the Retail Me Not App...just download it and thank me later. It is a couponer's dream.
Ok here we go...

1. Comfy Dress Slacks
So, the first thing in our teacher's wardrobe arscenal are a good pair of dress pants. These are my favorites! They're so not your mama's dress slacks...they're Old Navy's Pixie Pants. They're dress pants, but they literally feel like you're wearing pajamas. Can't recommend them enough. Keep an eye out for sales at the end of summer and can get these at really good prices in all kinds of colors and patterns.

2. Loose Tops With High Necklines
These are an absolute must for me. I like them in solid colors so that I can mix and them with scarves or by layering with sweaters and jackets. I can not stress loose's more comfortable and keeps you cooler.
These three things are enough to make an entire closet...I'll explain in a sec.

1. A loose short sleeved top.

2.  A loose thin sweater in a neutral color.

3. A loose long sleeve top in fun color.

Now you may say, "3 tops? that's not enough for a wardrobe!" Well, if you invest in 1 jacket and one scarf you end up with nine Sundays worth of outfits. Simple huh?

3. Dresses & Skirts That Are Long But Not Frumpy
If you're into dresses and skirts like me then I have some tips for you too! Just look for something loose with a high neckline. Neckline was never really something I thought about before I started teaching, as long it covered my chest I wasn't overly concerned since you don't generally do a lot of bending over during church. However, after a lot of sweater pulling and what not I decided it was time to invest in some dresses with a higher neckline. All three of the following are great options because they're more neutral and can be mixed and matched to make new outfits by simply adding a sweater, scarf, or jacket.

For skirts and dresses alike ALWAYS get something you can bend over in! Because believe me when I say you don't fully know the importance of bending over until you've went through a Sunday School class in a dress or skirt that is not conducive to bending. lol I really like these midi-skirts from old navy. They're comfy, a great length, and HELLO pockets...I think every Sunday School teacher our there knows the importance of pockets! ;P
Tip 4. 
Last, but not least, BAGS! Ok, I never understood the point of carrying a bag the size of a suitcase until I started teaching. Seriously, I have 3 Sunday school bags and I keep having to clean them out. I don't know where the stuff comes from, but it's like it just ends up in my Sunday School bag and begins spawning. A large bag is indespenciable in this profession, ok? lol
So, I like to go with one of two options. 

1. The classic over the shoulder bag. This offers a great amount of space for your curriculum, Bible, plus all your goodies. can get HEAVY on your shoulder. It is cute though, and generally comes in lots of fun colors.

2. The backpack. I like backpacks because they're a lot more portable, and depending on the kind you get they can also have a lot of room. However, they're generally not very fashionable.

So, in the end it comes down to style or comfort, but again...I generally change it up depending on how I feel that day or what type of lesson I'm doing. So, you really can't go wrong with either.

Well, that's it folks. I hope you get some ideas from all this! All clothes came from Old Navy and all shoes came from Off Broadway Shoes. Leave your Sunday School fashion secrets in the comments! :)

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Time Flies When You're Trying To Get There

I can't believe I'm going into my fourth year of teaching Sunday School! It seems like just yesterday I was starting off. I still remember the first lesson I ever taught was about Adam and Eve. I was so nervous, I was literally shaking. The kids were some of my friends brothers and sisters, and to them I was just their sister's friend. The transitioning period from "that girl my sister hangs out with" to Sunday School Teacher, admittedly took longer than I expected. I think that's the most important thing I've learned from being a Sunday School Teacher, you have to love and accept yourself where you're at.
Example, when I started this, to tell the truth, I didn't really like kids all that much I thought they were gross and annoying. I never thought I would see the day I would be mopping up puke, or holding a hand that had recently been up a nostril, or even comforting a kid...I was never the touchy feely emotional type even when I was a kid. All that was not in the job description. You see, I didn't get into Children's Ministry because I loved kids, I did it because I love God and I felt that was were he was leading me. Now, I can mop up puke and other unidentifiable liquids that seem to constantly come out of kids without gagging, I can see a kid pick their nose then want to give me a hug and I don't even flinch, and if I see a kid is sad or crying I want to be the first one there with a hug and a "Do you want to talk?" It was cool to see God put those things into me, and give me a true love for His babies. I can't pretend that I'm the best Sunday School Teacher ever, or that I don't have more growing to do, but I do know that I'm better than I was yesterday; and isn't that really the point? I tell the kids all the time that I may be the teacher, but I learn things in Sunday School too. Those kids have been my best teachers, cheerleaders, and humblers on occasion. lol.
I think that this can even be applied in our daily lives. My pastor once preached a message called "A Place Called There" where he talked about reaching that infamous proverbial mile stone of "There", I.E. "If I can just get there/do that I'll know I've made it!" Pastor brought out the point that if we really ever reach "There" then we're ready to die because our race is finished, we've done all God has called us to do. His point was that we're always changing and always growing, and we shouldn't rush God's process trying to get to the impossible perfection of "There." I think we've all probably been guilty of that in our lives.
"If I can just lose ten more pounds..."
"If I can just have a few more friends..."
"If I can just make more money..."
"If my Children's Ministry was just bigger..."
"If I can just get married..."
We rush God's plans and we end up overlooking the awesome things that he's doing in the here and now trying to get to "There."
The Bible says in Zech. 4:10 NLT, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin."
We spend our time complaining about how we aren't "There" yet when God is saying quit complaining and let Me help you get "There", you can't do it on your own.
I've said all that to say this, Maybe you've been frustrated because you don't feel like you're the teacher you can be, or your class isn't growing, or maybe you're going through one of those my class is a zoo phases...I've been there...just remember, don't despise your meager beginnings.
The inspiration for this post came from me looking at pictures of my old classroom. It was so tight and cramped, we've outgrown it now and I was glad to get a large space with a sound system and a stage. Looking four years later though, I would love to go back to that little classroom for a while. and be with those kids learning about Jesus. So many of my very first babies have moved on to youth group now, I still get visits from them every now and again but sometimes I do miss seeing those faces on Sunday morning. I spent so much of my time then trying to grow and get bigger and better. be a better teacher, get a bigger class, do more over the top things; if I could just grow more I would get "There!" God was growing me all along and didn't even have to good sense to pay attention, I just needed to follow His lead. It's really that easy, we teach it all the time. Sometimes I think we would do well to listen to what we're teaching ourselves...=]
So, don't forget to enjoy you're here and now, because once it's gone you can't get it back. You may not be where you want to be today or even tomorrow, but one day you'll turn around and realize God was leading you "There" all along. Your big changes just came one day at a time. So, embrace your growing moments, your trying moments, your fun moments, your silly moments, and every moment in between. Children's Ministry is a wild ride, but it's sure worth the trip.

Love and Blessings,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Since my post is about a transformation object lesson it only seems appropriate to give an update on how our ministry is growing and transforming. I'm so happy to report that our Children's ministry and God's kingdom are growing! This last weekend I had the the opportunity to act as the Vacation Bible School director for my church, and it was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This was our third VBS, and it was our best yet. We saw 10 kids come to Christ. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you only average 30-35  kids in the entire ministry that's a pretty huge number. We are growing, and I couldn't be prouder. As a small church we've come a long way, and God's given us a huge vision for our community. I'm so blessed to be able to be a part of what God is doing in my little town in these end times.
Now, down to brass tacks.
As I said earlier, I got to direct our VBS this year, but I also took on a class as-well. We had an amazing curriculum called SonSpark Labs from Gospel Light Publishing. It was the most user friendly VBS I've ever done. It gave you every possible resource, but still allowed you the freedom to put your own spin on things. We will definitely be using them again next year. It was full of wacky and wonderful science fun.
So, like I was saying, I took on a VBS class this year. I was over the Bible Story Lab, but this was no ordinary Bible Story session...oh no...I got to blow kids minds with awesome science experiments too! It was so much fun! However, for my night 2 experiment I decided to deviate a little from the curriculum. They suggested doing the expanding sandwich bag experiment where you fill one baggy with vinegar and the other with baking soda. Then you put the baking soda baggy in the vinegar baggy and seal the vinegar baggy up. They mix together to make carbon dioxide which then inflates the bag. Well, it is a cool experiment, but I had done it before with the kids and it only worked about 75% of the time for me. So, I didn't want to take the chance...
So, I pulled one of my favorite experiments out of my bag of tricks. Same concept, but bigger wow factor.
You will need...

1. A Bottle of Vinegar

2. A Box of Baking Soda

3. A Disposable Baking Pan

4. An Empty Glass can use plastic, but it tends to expand slightly when the chemical reaction occurs so I've found the glass usually works better.

5. A Deflated Balloon

Ok, first things first, be sure to try this experiment at home first! Trust me when I say there is nothing more embarrassing that blowing up an experiment in front of your class, and then having to walking around the rest of the day smelling like vinegar and tasking baking soda...not that I've ever done that...
Alright, now that you have your supplies here's what you need to do. 
1. Use a piece of paper to make a makeshift funnel...or better yet use a real put roughly one to two tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon. 
2. Fill your bottle with roughly half a cup of vinegar.
3. Then, quickly and carefully, pull the end part of your balloon (the part you would blow into to blow it up) onto the rim of the bottle emptying the baking soda into the vinegar. 

You will then see a chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda...think 6th grade science fair will begin to fizz and froth. This reaction will then create carbon dioxide which will begin to inflate the balloon. Be careful at this stage if you put too much baking soda in the bottle will fill too quickly and the balloon will either fly off or explode...either way you will walk away smelling like vinegar...but the kids will LOVE it...not that I've ever done that. ;)

So, what does all of this have to do with transformation you ask? 
Allow me to elaborate. 
Do you remember that thing called the cross that we seem to only talk about on Easter these days? You know the one that held our Saviour as He died for our sins? Yeah, that one. Well, when Jesus died for our sins the Bible says we became new creatures in Christ. 
I like to use the example of a butterfly. When that Caterpillar climbs into that cocoon it's not a very pretty site.
*Be sure to paint a ooey gooey icky mental picture for the kids.*
Then that Caterpillar climbs into his cocoon and something starts to happen. When he leaves his cocoon he's completely different. He's a new creature. He's not a Caterpillar anymore, he's a butterfly. 
The same thing happens with us. We start out in an ooey gooey icky mess of sin, but when we accept Jesus into our hearts he wipes away all the yuck of the world and turns us into His beautiful creation. 
Just like the vinegar and baking soda came together  and changed into something totally cool when we come together with Jesus we can become His new totally cool creation, a new creature in Christ Jesus. Now, that's better than any exploding science experiment...
Unless you're six in which case you will beg your teacher to again...not that that's ever happened to me. ;) 

Remember to never ever allow a child to do this unsupervised, and to always use caution and all protective measures before doing any experiments...especially where something explodes. lol.
I hope you'll enjoy this as much as my class did!

God Bless,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The "Cell Jail"

Remember those days where the highest form of technology that kids owned was a CD player? Well yeah, those days are gone. Cellphones have showed up in a HUGE way. I never thought I would see the day that an 11 year old would be carrying a nicer phone than me, but none the less that time is here. Adults are bad enough with cellphones in church much less a middle how do we cut out those  cellphone distractions? Reverse psychology of course. MAKE IT FUNNY! 
In our classroom we have a "Cell Jail"...aka Cellphone Jail. It was SUPER easy to make, SUPER effective, and the kids...uh...SUPER?...liked it. There are several ways you can whip up a Cell Jail. For ours I just used a small storage tote, think shoebox size, and I used a black Sharpie to draw jail cell bars on it. Simple, right? Get creative there are so many way to do this and make it funny. 
I found some awesome ideas, via Pinterest, to spark your creativity.
I love this one.
If you have a printer and glue you can make this. The kids will love the whole "game theme." Maybe you could even do a video game or sports theme somehow?...Hmmm. I'm feeling creative. Maybe it's time to update my Cell Jail. 

I think this is just a clear paint can (Lowe's?), electrical tape (Lowe's), and letter stickers (Walmart). Super easy...super cute...and super inexpensive. 

Another variation of above, but done with what looks like old peanut jars? Hey, even more economical. 

 This is too funny. Our ceilings are too high for this, but it's really cute with the bird theme. I've seen fake birdcages like this at places like AtHome, Hobby Lobby, and Kirklands. This isn't necessarily inexpensive, but it's certainly creative.

I think this is cool if you have a large class because you can assign numbers and there is no guessing games as to whose phone is whose. Plus you can get shoe organizer at the Dollar Store.


And finally...what better way to introduce your "Cell Jail" than with this bulletin board. LOVE IT.

Or, if you're not the creative type, just print some funny signs to hang around.

Example A.

Example B.

Example C.

Well, I hope this sparks your creativity! Do you have any Cell Jail ideas or other ways to discourage phones during class? I'd love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below. :)

God Bless, 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Do You Have A Gift To Bring? (Christmas Lesson)

These are my basic notes and outlines that I used for my Christmas 2014 lesson, "Do You Have A Gift To Bring?". Feel free to to add or take away to them. Our services tend to run long so I always like to have lots of filler and extras just to be safe.
I began service with the classic Christmas movie "The Little Drummer Boy."
(See Left)
For those of you who don't know the story of "The Little Drummer Boy" here's the IMDB version...
An orphan drummer boy who hated humanity finds his life changed forever when he meets three wise men on route to Bethlehem.
Long story short, he finds Jesus in the manger and his life is changed forever. It's under 25 minutes long, and fit in nicely with my lesson.

I incorporated a PowerPoint presentation with my lesson, if that's not at your tech level or in your budget then props will work fine too.

Teacher:Do you have a gift to bring?
Teacher:YES! God has given us each gift to give. 

(Slide 2)
Teacher: Are we talking about the kinds of gifts that we wrap up and put under the tree?

(Slide 3)
Teacher: No, not exactly this gift is ever cooler, because it's one of a kind and ONLY YOU can give it. Any guess on what that gift might be? *let the kids answer but act like you're not going to tell them the answer yet* Hmm, I think I heard some really good guesses in there, but the best presents are always a surprise...ok ok. I'll tell you. 

JAMES 1:17

(Slide 4)
Teacher: God specifically gave us two things,
1. Life
2. Our Gifts
There is no one else on the planet that ever has been or ever will be just like you. No one will look exactly like you, think exactly like you, talk exactly like you, or be exactly like you. There are things we have in common, yes, but even twins aren't exactly alike. That's all because of God! He did that on purpose. That's how much time and love he put into you. He loved you so much that he wanted to make you an original! He even gave original gifts and talents! God has put giftings and talents into, and they're so special that there are things on this planet that only you can do. 
Now, what gift do I have you ask? Well, maybe you don't know everything that God's called you to do yet. I still don't know everything that God wants me to do. I'm an adult and I'm still growing up in 

(Slide 5)
Teacher: Let's look at some of those gifts that God can give us right now.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Teacher: Those are just a few of the gifts God has to give. He may call others to be moms or teachers or business men or marines or...WHO KNOWS! God's plans are infinite and so much bigger than we can dream. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 says that nobody has seen, heard, or even imagined what God has prepared for His people. God's plans are so big that even our wildest dreams can't top them. And in Jeremiah 29:11 the Bible says, "I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future." Even if you're going through a rough time right now you can always have hope according to God's Word.

(Slide 6)
Teacher: Well, so far we've talked about some pretty amazing gifts! But did you know that there is a gift that tops ALL other gifts EVER?! Before I get ahead of myself lets read a story about 3 very important men who gave 3 very important gifts.

(Slide 7)

Matthew 2:1-12

Teacher: I'm going to tell you a little bit about Bible history today. Did you know that there is a gap of roughly 400 years between the end of the Old and the beginning New Testament? 

Numbers 24:17

Teacher: There were hundreds and hundreds of years between Numbers and the end of the Old Testament. People had been searching and waiting for The Messiah for literally hundreds of years...and we get grumpy if we have to wait ten minutes for dinner. 
The Magi, or Wise Men, were actually really famous for their knowledge of the stars. They were like the NASA of Bible times. So, after having all of this time to study the prophecies about Jesus the Magi knew exactly what that big star in the sky meant. They traveled a long way, most people believe they actually traveled thousands of miles, even crossing an ocean! They didn't have to do all of that. I'm sure it wasn't an easy journey and certainly not a cheap one, but they chose do it just so they could come and kneel before Jesus. They didn't actually arrive at the manger like we see in our Christmas plays. Jesus was about 1 or 2 when the wise men came, 
Did you know that we don't actually know how many wise men there were. The Bible never says. We always say the three wise men because the Bible only mentions 3 gifts. 

Speaking of gifts, those 3 gifts are very important. They each mean something very special. 

Gold-Gold was a typical gift for a king. This gift tells us that Jesus is the King.
Frankincense-Frankincense was used by Jewish priests for anointing the priests as they went into the temple. This gift tells us that Jesus is our High Priest.
Myrrh- Myrrh, during Bible times, was used a sort of medicine. So, this gift tells us that Jesus is our healer. But Myrrh has a double meaning because it was also used for people who died. So, this gift tells us that Jesus is our ultimate sacrifice. 
Really, if you look at the wise men's 3 gifts you can see Jesus' life. He was born King of the Jews. He went about teaching and healing the sick. But most importantly he was the sacrifice for our sins. 

(Slide 8)
Teacher: So, what do you think was the greatest gift of all? 

(Slide 9)

Teacher: That's right. It was Jesus. You know, at Christmas we exchange gifts, someone gets us a gift and we give them a gift. Jesus gave a gift, the best gift in the who universe, He died so that we could live forever with God in Heaven. Do you think you have a gift that you can give him? 
You don't have to bring an expensive gift like gold or even a million dollars. There is something that Jesus values more than anything, in fact it's at the top of his Christmas list. 
Do you know what it is?

(Slide 10) 
Teacher: It's you. Jesus loves you so much that he chose to die for you so that you could live for Him. All he asks is that you give your heart to Him. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life, and then serve Him with all your heart. It's not hard and it's not scary and it totally not just a grown up thing. 
Do you remember what the Little Drummer Boy gave? He gave all his talents and all his heart and Jesus changed him from the inside out.
Maybe you don't know what gifts and talents you have to give right now, but just like the wise men followed the star and got closer to Jesus if you will keeping drawing closer to Jesus and getting in God's Word your gifts will start becoming clearer to you and the Holy Spirit will show you all the awesome things that God has for you.
You know, having all those awesome God given gifts and not sharing them with Jesus and the people around you is kind of like getting a cool toy for Christmas and never putting in the batteries. Yeah, I can still have the toy, but it's never going to do much until I put in the batteries.  Put Jesus in your heart and see all the good He'll do.

Our church service ran usual. So, here come those fillers that I mentioned earlier. 

1. Follow the star quiz. 
This is super easy and inexpensive. 
A. Split the kids into two teams Have them "line up their camels" and stand in line facing you.
B. Turn out the lights.
C. Turn on a flashlight and shine it at the end of the room.
D. Ask questions about your lesson. My kids especially liked questions about the history stuff that I told them. I had roughly 7 pages of questions written down before hand. Let everyone have a turn by going in order of the line front to back.
E. If someone gets a question right their camel line gets to take one step forward. This goes on until one team reaches the star. 
Note: We did this in a hallway and it helped to keep some of our more wiggly camels from running away. haha

2. Star Ornament
I LOVE this one. I made these when I was in Sunday School. 
All you need is,
Popsicle sticks
And your choice of graft decor...we used foil pieces, glitter, and yarn...foam cutouts and stickers would work good too. 
1. Use your Popsicle sticks to make a star. The kids had a bit of trouble with this and things got a bit messy so I would recommend having extra help on hand to to glue the stars as the kids place to the Popsicle sticks. 
2. Loop a piece of yarn around the star so that it can be hung on a Christmas tree as an ornament.
3. Let them go to town and decorate it however they see fit, but for the love of all things wonderful DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT GIVE THEM FREEDOM WITH THE GLITTER. I made that mistake and I'm still sweeping up stray bits of glitter from a month ago. haha. 
Note: It's helpful if you have a pre-assembled star to show the kids for ideas.

Finish off your day with some juice and Christmas cookies and you'll be the coolest Sunday School teacher around!

Well, that's what I did this Christmas. :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! We really had a blast. Tell me what your class did in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. Plus...I need ideas for next year! :)

God Bless,