Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Reasons I started wearing skirts

We're coming up on my 1 year anniversary of full-time skirt wearing! As I hit this milestone, I'm also looking forward to another--weaning my youngest from nursing and getting to purchase and wear some dresses rather than skirts! But this year I've worn skirts in 110 degree weather, and in 10 degree weather. They've kept me cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Overall, it's been a great year of skirt wearing, so I thought it an opportune time to do a post on the top 5 reasons to start wearing skirts.

1. Skirts are prettier than pants. Before my stint into the skirt-wearing world, all I wore was tank tops, waffle knit long sleeve pull-overs and boot leg jeans left over from high school. When I decided to start wearing more skirts, I went to the thrift store and picked up several different styles. Skirts are SO much more interesting and beautiful compared to pants! Typically women look good in one style of cut of jeans. Maybe they look good in boot leg or skinny jeans, or boyfriend jeans (whatever those are). But skirts come in all kinds of lengths and cuts, prints and fabrics and styles. I have (and love to wear) jean skirts, but I also have pretty striped skirts with floral embroidery, khaki skirts, plaid skirts, skirts with pockets...you get the picture.

2. Skirts are more comfortable than pants. If you are like I was, you may be doubting this claim a bit, but I encourage you to try a skirt for a week or so and just see. I've been married since 2002. I can truthfully say, I literally never wore a skirt or dress for the first 10 years of my marriage. And before that, after I left the obligatory uniform skirt of elementary school, I can count the number of times I wore a skirt or dress on one hand. I really never thought skirts were comfortable. But once I tried them, I realized that they are SO comfortable. In the summer, they are airy and light, and in the winter, they are perfect for wearing over leggings to keep yourself warm, but still feeling feminine. And truly, there isn't much that most people normally do that you can't do in a skirt. I've been to the fair in a skirt, I've gone hiking in a skirt, I've gone to the park in a skirt, played on the living room floor with my babies in a skirt, and much more.

3. Skirts will make you feel more beautiful than pants. I have found this to be really, really true. We recently purchased a piece of 13 acre undeveloped land to build our dream home on, and it was head-high in brush and sticker weeds when we drove down to see it. Clearly a situation where a skirt probably wasn't going to cut it. So I pulled on a pair of boots and jeans and we hiked around our land for a bit. I'll tell you, I felt so big and bulky in those jeans! I felt like a man! There was no swish of fabric as I walked. All my undesirable curves were accentuated. There was no feminine touch to the outfit. Conversely, when I put on a pretty skirt, I feel more graceful, more feminine and more beautiful than I have ever felt in pants.

4. Others will see you differently when you wear the right kinds of skirts. Okay. We all know that you shouldn't judge a book by its' cover. But the truth is, people do. Wearing a modest and tasteful skirt in our society is actually rather uncommon, and it's something that people do notice. It's my experience that people perceive me differently than they did when I mostly wore t-shirts and yoga pants. People seem to perceive my parenting differently, they tend to show me more respect, and they assume a certain value system when they meet me. Inside, I haven't really changed my thinking, but the way I am perceived now has made the values I hold on the inside more apparent to people looking in from the outside.

It's very easy to get into the habit of throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt every day. It's a little harder to get into a style rut when you are consistently wearing skirts. When you put on a skirt, you tend to make a point of finishing the whole outfit and actually styling your hair, rather than throwing it in a messy bun on your head. Somehow, a skirt (or dress) makes you try harder, and because of that, I think people do notice the effort and it says to them that you respect yourself, and that they should respect you also.

5. The right kind of skirt (or dress) is more modest than pants. I say "the right kind" of skirt because of course mini skirts aren't really modest, and maybe a skirt with 'juicy' emblazoned on the back isn't modest. But a tasteful, feminine skirt is more modest than pants. The hem of the skirt serves as a boundary line for the eyes; effectively stopping the eyes from traveling up the length of your body. The body of the right kind of skirt is loose enough to provide coverage for your curves.

Truly, I don't think I'll ever go back to full-time pants. What do you think? Why do you wear skirts or pants?

Four Benefits of the Family Integrated Church

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Salvatore Vuono,

The vast majority of Christian's today attend churches where Sunday School, women's ministries, men's ministries and children's programs are the norm. For those of us who are Christian, Sunday School is what our kids do on Sundays, and it can be almost impossible to imagine a world in which these age and gender-segregated programs don't exist.

However, there is a small and growing movement toward churches where there are no age- or gender-segregated programs, and where families worship together. This church model is called the family-integrated church. In this article, I want to give you a list of benefits of attending a family-integrated church.

1. In the family-integrated church, families worship together. Have you ever taken your child to Sunday School, and, upon picking them up ask, "What did you learn today?" only to get stutters and ums, and mentions of silly games or yummy snacks they ate, and little to no information about what they actually studied during their time at church? In the family-integrated church model, since families worship together, parents know what their children are hearing, and the family is learning the same things at the same time. Sermon topics become conversation topics during the week, where parents have a chance to extrapolate on the sermon, bringing the message down to their level and helping children internalize what they have already heard on Sunday.

2. In the family-integrated church, children see that faith matters to their parents. There came a point in our church life where my kids were in one classroom, I was in the mother's room with a crying baby, my toddler was in the nursery, and my husband was alone in the church. We weren't learning the same things, and frankly, we didn't know what our kids were learning, and we assumed they weren't capable of understanding what we were learning (not true). Our faith walks were totally separate from one another. In the family-integrated church model, children sit with their parents, they see their parents worshipping, praying, and fellowshipping, and they see other adults and children doing the same. If our faith matters to us, in this church model, it'll be obvious to our children. Children look to see what matters to their parents, and those same things will matter to them. Actually physically seeing you make God a priority, will impact the faith of your children.

3. There is more unity in a family-integrated church. I'm sure this is not true of all family-integrated churches, but the very nature of doing church as whole family units lends itself to more unity within the greater body of Christ. You get to know whole families, as opposed to a more traditional church model where you might get to know the person sitting next to you and your child might make a friend with someone whose parents you've never met. Doing church together, means getting to know families in their natural state. This lends itself to deeper relationships between the members of the church body.

4. Children learn to participate in "real" worship. I want to be very careful how I word this next point, lest anyone think I'm suggesting that children cannot worship without their parents--that is not what I'm saying at all. My point here is that the vast majority of the time Sunday School is more about crowd control and making church "fun" so that children will want to come back, and less about real knowledge and understanding of the matters of the faith. As an example, at our last church, we adults received wonderful teachings from the word of God, but when my husband volunteered in our kid's classes, he said there was literally a 2 to 5 minute mini-lesson, a snack, play time, and singing time. When children are trusted to enter into "big" church, there is a chance for the "bells and whistles" to fall away, and for children to come humbly to the throne of an amazing God, a God whose Son said, "Suffer the little children to come unto to me, for such is the kingdom of heaven".

There are so many benefits to attending a family-integrated church. It has literally changed the dynamics of our family (in unexpected and wonderful ways). Since switching to this church model, I have seen so much spiritual growth in my older children (ages 7 and 8). They may not understand every word of the sermon, but they are taking in more than you would think. Even my 2 and 1 year olds can be caught singing the great hymns of decades past in their baby language. My husband and I are more unified than ever, and as a family, we are so much more engaged in our church body than we have ever been in the past. So if you're thinking about trying a family-integrated church, I encourage you to give it a go. You might just find that you too enjoy worshipping as a family.