Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Packing A Miracle

“…Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” – John 6:9

Do you ever get tired of packing lunches and snacks for your kids? I sure do. One of the many things I love about summer vacation is the long break from filling lunchboxes and washing water bottles.

In the Biblical account of Jesus feeding five thousand people, meal time rolls around and no one is prepared. The people are hungry and there is no food available. However, one boy offers to share his five loaves of bread and two small fish. Jesus gives thanks for this food, and miraculously uses it to feed all of the people until they are full, then the disciples gather up twelve baskets of leftovers.

Now, how do you suppose the boy got that food? One can assume his mom packed it for him. That is what moms do—they think ahead to what their children might need for the day. When they know their kids will be running around outside all day, they tuck snacks into pockets and canteens of water over shoulders. They load up lunchboxes and water bottles for school. They plan treats for special occasions and fun lunches for play dates. Moms plan, prepare, and pack.

Yet I often forget the value and the potential power of this loving effort. When the boy’s mom sent him out with bread and fish, she had no way of knowing her meager meal would become a miracle. We don’t know when that might happen either. But God can use anything, even a snack, to reach people and show His love.

Consider the conversations around the lunchroom tables. “My mom packed my favorite sandwich for me!” “Ugh, my mom packed a banana again.” “I got cookies in my lunch, do you want one?” For my oldest daughter, one day that conversation led to a boy asking her about Jesus.

We often show our kids love through what we pack, and our kids can use that to share, help and encourage their friends. When my daughter was in first grade, a classmate never brought a snack to school, so she shared hers. In fourth grade, the boy who asked her about Jesus at lunch wanted to know more while they sucked on lollipops and waited for their afternoon carpools.

Food can break down barriers, make conversation easier, and allow people to seem more real or down to earth. Sometimes it is more comfortable for kids to bring up sensitive topics with something in their mouths.

The next time you pack a lunch or a snack, remember the mom who packed the five loaves and two fish for her little boy, and expect a miracle.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make Fruit More Fun With This Simple Dip

Most kids like the sweetness of fruit, but if yours don’t, or if they don’t eat enough fruit, this fun dip may help.

Put one 8oz block of cream cheese (cut up if necessary), ½ cup of brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a blender or food processor. Whirl until smooth. If needed, you can thin it a bit with a tablespoon of milk.

Let the kids dunk slices of fruit into the dip. If you like, you can also provide a dish of finely chopped peanuts or pecans (or any other nut). Dip a slice of fruit into the cream cheese mixture, then roll it in the nuts for a crunchy variation.