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,