My Food Chain Gang – Restored!

Posted in God on June 16th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a wonderful tale to tell – a God story, and I love those.

A few weeks ago now, I met a friend for lunch at McD’s.  Later that evening, as my hubby inquired about my day and asked how my lunch was, I talked about how much I enjoyed hearing my friend’s updates on her beloved cat, Mya.  I even lamented, “I wish I could have a kitten.”  I seem to be an animal person you say (I AM) – so why don’t I just get a kitten?  Well, I’m allergic to cats, otherwise I would probably have a cat (or two or three or…).  I actually had one for 10 years and loved her very much, but I was very allergic to her and that was tough for both of us.  But anyway – back to this Friday night a few weeks ago – I’m wanting a cat.  Saturday morning, the early risers in our family were alerted by an “alarming” sound in our backyard.  They found 2 cats fighting on the fence, and across the yard, 3 baby bunnies crying out in alarm.  Sammie was dispatched to alert me (still in bed, allowed to sleep-in, THANK YOU Hubby!), and in the now-calm backyard I found 3 exhausted baby bunnies resting while my kids were comforting one of the stray cats.  The stray was a friendly fellow; he had black and white fur, green eyes, and a few extra toes.  I couldn’t believe the obliging attitude – pleasure even – that this cat was deriving from the attention my kids were doting upon it.

I couldn’t resist petting this friendly kitty, and when I did, something strange happened.  Well, actually,  it was nothing at all that happened.  No sniffles, no itches, no hives – no allergy symptoms.  How could it be that I wasn’t allergic to this cat?  For the record, Hubby is also allergic to cats but didn’t react to this one either.  So anyway, we let the super friendly tuxedo cat in the house.  He walked right in and looked around, and it really did seem as if he had lived here for years – and he’s been here ever since!  Just fit right in with our entire family, and it’s not an easy feat to forge a seamless transition from outdoor feral cat to indoor family cat, especially when the new family =  5 kids (3 girls ages 12, 8, 5 and 2 boys ages 3 and 8 mos.), a dog, a parrot, a rabbit, and 2 rats.   But saying we’ve had a smooth transition would be an understatement!

What a gift he has been.  A gift from God for our family…  to bring us together as we welcome a new member for however long we’re allowed to take care of him.  A gift for us to cherish together while we play with him.  A gift for me to help ease the mounting stress I’ve felt lately.  Have you seen the medical research on how a purring cat relieves stress?  It exists, trust me!

So to acknowledge this gift for us and to honor our God, “Mittens” became “Moses” – and it is cute when the kids rhyme about “Moses with the extra toe-ses”.  Moses seems very adept at using his paws, and he acts very cat-like around the house, which I love – just why I wanted to have a cat around.  For now, we are enjoying Moses and his company.  He gets along with all of our other pets and is wonderfully tolerant of the kids – he fits in our family like the missing piece of a puzzle; not that any of us realized there was a piece missing before Moses came.  So could it be that “my food chain gang” has been restored?

Both an article I read and a devotional I heard recently happened to be about the same subject: knowing and having the faith and satisfaction that God sees you, even if you feel invisible to the world.  God uses many aspects of His creation to bring people closer to having meaningful relationships with Him and to help us receive His messages, even animals.  My family was getting burnt out from a busy schedule, and it really rejuvenated the kids’ spirits to get to have this cat.  And they aren’t the only ones 😉

“…You are the God who sees me…”  from Genesis 16:13

This is a picture of our oldest daughter holding the cat.  No, my 12-year-old does not normally wear make-up; this was “spa night”  🙂

God is so good!!

Highlights From A Beth Moore Bible Study

Posted in church on June 20th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the activities that’s been keeping me so busy lately is the Beth Moore Bible study I’m attending on Mondays, called Jesus The One and Only.  It’s great; I’m learning a lot, getting to know other women from my church, and it gets me and the kids out of the house for a few hours every Monday morning.  The kids can blow off some steam while I go through the workbook with my small group and watch the dvd.  A fun class, but there is a side effect of all the learning: homework.  Our workbook is divided into weekly sessions, and there are 5 days of homework for every week’s lesson.  Each day has about 4-5 pages of homework that involves creative thinking and looking up passages in the Bible, contemplating them, comparing them, and answering thought-provoking questions.  Time-wise, it’s intense, especially for this pregnant mother of 4.  This is the 3rd week of class, and so far I’ve been able to get all my homework finished on time and am really enjoying it.  I struggled a bit at first with the stress of trying to find those extra hour 5 days a week that I was sure I didn’t have, but I’m managing and reaping the rewards.  Before I begin today’s homework, I thought I’d share some things that I’ve highlighted in my workbook.

Before I do that, however, I will recap in a nutshell what the study itself is all about: Jesus.  We began our discussions talking about Mary, and Beth Moore is really great at delving more deeply into things and encouraging the student to give more thought.  We talked about what Mary might have been like as a young Jewish woman (Mary was probably around 13 or 14 when  she was told she was about to carry the Lord’s child  – did you know she was that young?  I didn’t!), and we talked about her pregnancy (of particular interest to me right now), her thoughts and feelings, her journey to see her cousin Elizabeth, and then we moved on to talking about Jesus himself.  We talked about him as a baby, a child, and about how he was led into the desert, all while relating it to our own lives.  Some of Beth Moore’s statements that stuck out to me in the workbook are:

God seems to love little more than stunning the humble with His awesome intervention.

Seasons of intense temptation are not indications of God’s displeasure.

God emphasized that the road to redemption would be costly and confrontational.

Luke was the only Gentile God inspired to write a Gospel.

God allows circumstances to exist in our lives that drive us to dependency on Him.

God is far too faithful to let anyone make it through life without confronting seasons of utter helplessness.

The good news Christ may want to preach to you today is that you don’t have to subsist.  You  were meant to thrive.

I’m quite sure if my healing process had been painless, I would have relapsed.

Many people sincerely love God, but I don’t think anyone stands to appreciate the unfailing love of God like the believer finally set free from failure.

Easter 2011

Posted in holidays on May 1st, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Easter is definitely a favorite holiday of mine.  Can’t be THE favorite because nothing beats Christmas, but it’s proven to be even better than Halloween these days.  No matter how you celebrate Easter, there is always lots to do this time of year, and I think our family found the perfect balance between celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the traditional kids’ stuff like Easter eggs and bunnies.

Every year, our community has an Easter egg hunt, and my kids always love it.  My oldest is now too old to participate, but I was proud that she chose to come along with us and that she was a HUGE help with the little ones.  Our community’s Easter egg hunt is more of a candy scramble now.  They used to have it in the park, and the volunteer teens from the high school would hide the candy all around the park, but they got tired of having to move the event indoors at the last minute because of inclement weather.  With Easter being in April, you just can’t guarantee a sunny, dry, Saturday morning without muddy ground in which to hide the Easter surprises.  So now they have it in the middle school gym, and while they can’t exactly hide the candy, the kids seem to love it all the same.  If the kids find a piece of candy with a colored dot on it, then they win an extra prize, and 2 of my 3 kids did just that – those of you who know our family can guess who was the one with the (as always) bad luck  – poor kid.

At church the following day, we had two special guests join us – one friend who doesn’t go to church but began to come after falling on hard times in his life, and a new friend who is also going through tough times and looking to switch churches.  I’m so happy to report that New Friend now calls our church her church home – she and her kids really like it!  Also, Friend #1 has been coming to church every week since!  God is amazing!

Monday, we were invited by some friends to attend “The Living Last Supper”, a show near Fort Wayne Indiana staged solely for God’s glory – to depict the last days and the death and Resurrection of Jesus.  It was an awesome, powerful show; one I strongly recommend.  This will be an annual tradition for our family for sure!  Especially since all 4 of our children were moved by the performance, and we didn’t even need to use the child care!

Friday saw the annual kid-friendly tradition of egg coloring, and I think this was really the first year we’ve done egg coloring with a little BOY in the house.  Our son is 2, and what a difference there was between his rowdy excited way of dropping the eggs into the colors versus his sisters’ delicate quest for prettiness in their egg designs.  Our son barreled through his allotment of eggs so quickly that his sisters were still working on theirs when he was done, and this is what happened:

After dinner, our family sat down in a circle to do another one of our favorite Easter traditions: Resurrection Eggs.  It’s a set that was given to us by my sister last year, and I have to remember to tell her how much we enjoy doing this every year.  We even lent our set to some friends this year for them to enjoy!  It comes with a booklet, and we take turns reading the little paragraphs that tell the story of Jesus’ death.  The booklet asks questions and gives you places to pause,  and you open each of the 12 eggs when prompted.  Each of the different colored eggs contains a little something that represents the part of the story that was just read, and we have kids take turns opening eggs.  It’s a wonderful way to combine the eggs aspect and the spiritual meaning of Easter into a fun-filled educational family activity, and we love it!

Saturday morning the kids got a nice surprise – the Easter Bunny had visited early and hidden their gorgeous eggs!  I think the Easter Bunny thought it would be too much for us to search for eggs while trying to get to church on time Sunday morning, and he was right 🙂  Oh, here’s a pic of the kids with their eggs; Dude is still recovering from his egg coloring tantrum:

After the egg hunting , we attended a fun Easter event at the community theater up the street, and the weather actually cooperated.  There were Easter egg hunts, games, lunch, and plenty of prizes for everyone, and the kids had a blast.  We returned home and made a last minute decision to check out another Easter drama at a friends’ church.

It seems that the Easter Bunny made another visit to our house on Saturday night since Sunday morning the kids woke up to a laundry basket for each of them full of surprises.  We went to church, and I enjoyed a whopping class size of 13 first-graders to teach!  Problem was, all of their jacked-up-on-candy brains could only think about the other aspects of Easter, and we had difficulty doing some of our planned activities.  It’s often difficult to accomplish much when I have a class of that size anyhow, so I took it in stride and we went to the gym early to run around and burn off some of that sugar!  At adult worship, we were blessed to see enough friends join us so that our group filled up an entire row!  It’s not about quantity, but it was amazing to see some friends there who don’t regularly go to church and some whom we’ve been inviting for years and haven’t come until now.  I am so excited to see what God is doing in the lives of those I care about!!!

We went out to brunch, took a family nap, and then we took the kids to the movies.  No, we didn’t see Hop, which might have made sense for Easter, but our older kids have already seen it.  So we took in Rio, which is a cute family movie about a couple of rare parrots – fitting for our family since we reside with a jerky parrot of our own, and we had fun.

Overall, one of the best Easter seasons ever; actually, this season just keeps getting better and better every year, especially as I become aware of what the season is all about and how to really celebrate it.  I am truly blessed!

So a belated happy Easter to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and have many more to come!  Celebrate Easter, celebrate Jesus, celebrate love, celebrate family – Easter is great & we have God to thank!

A God Story

Posted in church, Everyday Life on January 10th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , ,

I love coming across God stories.  Real life anecdotes which display the way God works in our lives, God stories can be experienced by Christians and non-Christians alike; it’s just a matter of recognizing them and taking the time to be thankful and appreciate them.

I was at our babysitter’s house last week picking up my kids, and there was a little girl cuddling a dog.  Being  an animal lover, I had to say hello to the cute little furball and find out her name and age.  The little girl’s father said he didn’t know the pup’s age because they had found her, and then he said, “I have to tell you the whole story.”  So he begins his story, not knowing me or that I am a Christian who appreciates God stories.  His story went something like this:

“My wife left me; she left me and the kids and even took our dogs, so these poor kids lost their mother and their dogs.  I kept telling them I would get them a dog, but I had lots of other things to work out too.  So for Halloween, we went to one of those ‘trunk or treat’ things at a church, and there was a little girl walking around inside the church with a puppy in her arms.  I thought, something doesn’t seem  right there – why is this little girl walking around a church with a puppy, so I asked her about the dog.  “We’re not even sure what we’re going to do with  her – we just found her outside.” the little girl told him.  “Well,” I told her, “my kids have been looking for a dog.”  We took home the little puppy, and she was mangy and starving, just skin and bones.  We didn’t estimate her to be more than 10 weeks old at that time, and she has been  a part of the family for the last few months.  She is thriving physically, and she has helped provide some of the healing the kids needed as they spent Christmas without their mom.”

After hearing the story, it was magical to see the little girl cuddle her puppy.  It warmed my heart to see them together, knowing that God brought this little puppy into the lives of a family who needed her – and brought a family into the life of an ailing little puppy who needed them as well.  God works in wonderful ways, and being a witness to it is awesome – you just have to stop and look around; He is always there!

Too Close To Home

Posted in Current Events on December 31st, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crazy night here last night!!

Our 6-year-old, Samantha was up late, and since she was the only one of our 4 kids still awake, we decided to spend some ‘just parents with Sammie’ time and play a game.  Dad had sunk one of our ships in Battleship when we heard a series of pops from outside.  Following our instincts to take cover, we went into the interior of the house away from windows, where we discussed what we heard.  Had we spaced on the date, was it New Year’s already and someone was lighting off fireworks in celebration?  No, my husband said, there is only one thing that sounds like that, and when he put it that way, I had to agree – it was gunfire.  After we decided that it couldn’t really have been anything else, we called the police, who told us there were already officers on scene.  We got our police scanner hooked up (who said I don’t need a police scanner to keep tabs on small town action?), and we continued to sit in the hallway and listen to it.  Soon we heard the unmistakable churning of the LifeFlight helicopter (we live blocks from the hospital), and we wondered if it was related – we would have more info in the morning.  The police scanner just had mild chatter about officers responding and trying to find the “suspect’s ID”.  They found his cell phone, and an officer was told to see who the suspect had called.  Not getting any useful info, we went to bed, and my husband woke me this morning with the info that he had heard on the big city Toledo news – a shootout had occurred in our small town, only blocks from our house, mere feet from our friends’ house.

Turns out, a man had shot at the police station and then drove down to the park, where he shot at the police who chased him.  The police returned fire, which explains the series of 6-8 pops we heard.  The man was then LifeFlighted to a bigger hospital with life-threatening injuries.  That was all the info in the newspaper, but when I did a google search this morning on the man’s name, something interesting came up: a memory page for his daughter who died in a motorcycle accident in our town (this family was from a town 25 miles away) last spring.  I remember that case: a man was driving a speeding motorcycle, and when police tried to pull him over,  he gave chase.  He eventually lost control of the motorcycle, and it crashed, killing his passenger when she was ejected from the motorcycle.  From the research I did on the internet this morning, it seems that the suspect from last night’s shooting incident was the father of the victim in the motorcycle chase case.  Perhaps he was upset with the way police handled things last spring, so he shot up the police station and led them back to where his daughter was killed –  the shootout took place at the same scene.

Tragic case all around, and we are reeling from yet another so-called ‘big city’ incident that seems quite out of place here in our small Utopian town.  I went to the shooting suspect’s Facebook page, and there are several  Christian activities on it.  Perhaps in his grief for his daughter, the man lost faith in letting God handle things, and that is another aspect of the tragedy.  Thank God that no officers or bystanders were injured, and I’m going to pray for the recovery and physical and emotional healing of the man and his family.

Here’s a link to the news story.

Teacher, Teacher

Posted in church, Kids on June 13th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, I survived.  Today was my try at teaching my 3–year-old daughter’s Sunday school class.  Every summer, church members have the opportunity to serve in our church’s Kids’ Kingdom in order to give the regular teachers a much deserved summer break.  Instead of requesting a specific age group where I might have been comfortable (last summer my husband and I taught 4th grade boys, and I’m used to teaching 5th and 7th grade girls from my youth group teaching experience), I decided to let the Kids’ Kingdom coordinator put me where I would be needed the most – so the 3-year-old room it was.  And lucky for me (cough cough), there aren’t very many 2-year-olds at our church at this time, so they were just combined with the 3-year-olds, putting me in charge of fourteen 2 and 3-year-olds for over an hour.  But it was SO much fun!!!

Not something I’d like to do every week (just because of my responsibilities at home with 4 of my own kids 24/7), but definitely worth a shot, especially since I was helping out.  I might even  sign up for another Sunday with the 2/3-year-olds; they were so cute!!  In anticipating my teaching experience today, one challenge I did not foresee were the kids who cried when their parents left.  We had about 4 of those – their world was blown apart when this strange lady (me) was in their classroom in place of their regular teacher.  3 of them got over the shock right away; one little girl did an actual 180º turn in personality.  She began the class by crying and clinging to the wall, only to come out of her shell later and insisting she sit by me at story time as well as wanting my constant attention.  The 4th little boy held out a little longer; he was a cute little guy who clung to the wall for most of the class.  He stopped crying for his parents within the first few minutes, but I couldn’t get him to participate in any of the activities.  I kept asking though, I didn’t let him fade into the background, and I think that helped.  Also helping was my teenage helper, without whom I surely would have lost track of all those kids.

Upon arriving, I was given a packet of papers detailing my lesson plan and ideas for activities related to the lesson which I will share:

Basic Truth: God Made Me
Key Question: Who can help you?
Bottom Line: God made people who help me.
Memory Verse: “Be kind and loving to each other.” Ephesians 4:32, NCV
Bible Story Focus: God wants families to help each other.
Boaz cares for Ruth and Naomi • Ruth 2:1-23

As kids were arriving (and some were bawling into the doorframe), I had them sit at the table and draw their favorite foods in the pre-printed basket they were given on cardstock.  I got a big kick out of one little girl who drew chocolate fudgicles, chocolate soy milk (?), and chocolate pancakes.  I attempted to draw my own basket (filled with spaghetti; I didn’t think I could draw Greek food nor did I feel like explaining saganaki or kafta to 2 and 3-year-olds), but there was too much to do for me to finish my artwork.  Soon, we ran out of table space to color, so I moved on to this activity:

Get Up and Go
What You Need: Blue painters’ tape, masking tape and different forms of transportation toys such as cars, horses, trucks, trains, buses, boats and airplanes.
What You Do: Make “roads” on the floor with the masking tape. Make “waterways” on the floor with the blue tape. Pretend you are traveling on the roads with the trucks, horses and cars and in the water with the boats. Fly the airplanes around the room. Make up places to go and let your imagination take you on a fun trip.
What You Say:
During the activity: “Who wants to go on a trip with me? These cars and trucks can take us places. These boats can take us places. Oh! And look! We have horses and an airplane too! We can use these to go all kinds of places. This white tape can be our road and this blue tape can be water. Come on! Let’s get up and go!”
At the end of the activity: “Cars and trucks and boats can take us to all kinds of places. There’s one more way to get somewhere that we haven’t talked about…our feet! We can WALK to places too! In our Bible story today, two ladies named Ruth and Naomi have to use their feet to get to a new pla
ce.”

So as you can see, the instructions were laid out pretty well for me.  After the kids laid out their “roads” (and had a BLAST doing so, I must say!  Gives me a great idea for an inexpensive, non-messy fun activity to do at home this summer with my own kids!), it was time to go down the hall for story time.  Here we met up with the 4-year-old group and the 5-year-old group (of which my other daughter belongs; she was happy to see me!), and the kids listened to a Bible story.  During the story, my teenage helper stayed behind to set out the snack, so it was soley up to me to keep our group of 14 quiet and listening to the story – yeah right.  I did the best I could, and I even got to  dance with  the kids.

We returned to  our classroom, had snack, and then we tried the Foil Food activity:

Foil Food
What You Need: Aluminum foil.

What You Do: Give each child a piece of aluminum foil. Show them how to shape the foil into different food shapes like a hot dog, banana, apple, small grapes, chicken fingers, French fries and carrot sticks or anything a child could easily shape with foil.
What You Say:  “Watch what I can do with this foil. (Shape the foil into a food item.) Look! It’s a (name of food). I have some foil for you too. You can shape it into all kinds of foods like a banana or several small grapes or even an apple. Ruth and Naomi were very happy to find food to eat when they got back to Bethlehem. God gave them Boaz to help take care of them. God gives you people to help take care of you too. Who can help you? [Bottom Line] God made people who help me.”

The kids had a ball with the foil activity too, even though some of them misunderstood – my little friend the chocolate lover, requested that I make her a butterfly out of the foil…  oh, and there was one little guy who completely misunderstood and began to EAT the foil 🙂

When the kids grew tired of that activity, there was still about 15 minutes left, so we did some free play with the toys and puzzles in the room as I did not feel prepared for the other activities on the list.  One little girl kept putting a cow toy on my shoe, and she and about 5 others were loving it when I would react every time – OH, there’s a COW on my shoe!  Am I going to have to take this cow home with me?!?  That lasted about 10 minutes; imagine if I had tried that one with my 7th graders – they’d be gossipping about me being bi-polar as they do about one of their teachers, gossip which I try to stop, of course.

My teen helper had to take about half the kids to the bathroom at some point, so I decided it was a good time to try this activity – I didn’t want to try it with all the kids there since we were only given about 6 pieces of fake food.  Having 4 kids of my own, I’m well-versed in kid-fight-prevention, so I knew doing the following activity with only 6 pieces of food and 14 kids was a recipe for disaster.  But with about 8 in the room, I thought it was worth a try…  until the bathroom group came back in the middle of the activity…

Fast Food
What You Need: Toy food items, a large basket like a laundry basket and a stopwatch.

What You Do: Spread the toy food items all over the room. Place the laundry basket in the middle of the room. Challenge the children to see how fast they can get all of the food into the basket. Time them and be ready to tell them how fast they do it each time. Continue doing the activity as long as the children are interested.
What You Say:
At the start of the activity: “A girl named Ruth has to look for food to go in her basket in our Bible story today. Our basket needs some food in it too. Do you see some food that we can put in it? (Pause for response.) OK. When I say “go,” I want you to put the food in our basket as fast as you can. On your mark…get set…go!”
At the end of the activity: “You got faster and faster each time you put the food in the basket. I wonder how long it took Ruth to put food in her basket? I can’t wait to hear her story.”

Ok, I wasn’t given a stopwatch, so I just had half the kids hide food items and the other half find them…  but then the bathroom group came back and we had too many kids and too little room and too few food items to hide.  My little friend threw a not-so-little tantrum because she wanted to be the one to hold the basket – and she was going to have her turn as I said, but first she had to wait, which wasn’t cool with her (ADHD diagnosis, anyone?  It’s sad, but they seem to be slapping that one on kids left and right these days).  But oh, great, now I had a kid screaming just as parents are starting to arrive.  Luckily she got over it quickly, and the parents came a few minutes earlier than I had expected – good thing too, since I was out of activities for which I had supplies.

Overall, a GREAT experience – I’m so proud of my own little 3-year-old who was not only one of the best behaved in the group (of course), but who was surprisingly not very clingy to mom and let me be a teacher to her peers.  I think the kids had trouble remembering my name, so by the end of the hour, I was known as ‘Teacher, Teacher’ complete with pant-leg-tugging – hence the name of this blog post.

Next up – in August I’m scheduled to help with my 5-year-old’s class, and I’m excited to see the differences in behavior between the two groups.  But after today, I’m quite tempted to volunteer for another Sunday in the 3-year-old room…  they are fun kids who are quite sweet.  My only regret is that there were so many of them, which impeded my ability to get to  have more fun with them on a one-on-one basis.  Plus there were a few that were handfuls (well, just my little friend and then another little boy who started all kinds of trouble all morning!), but it was still hard to give attention to the kids who were being good, and that should never be the case.  Too bad I know in my heart that I’d be spreading myself way too thin if I volunteered to  be a Sunday school teacher.  I need to stick with the youth group kids I committed to, and both groups plus my own kids at home would be way too much…  something to think about when my kids get older and my youth group kids graduate though!!

For those of you looking for ideas for Christian fun at home, for your small Bible study groups, or a Christian daycare, here are the rest of the activities I was given and didn’t have the time / materials to do:

Looking for Food
What You Need: A clear plastic soda bottle or a large clean peanut butter jar, uncooked white rice, several pieces of Runts® candy and a hot glue gun.
Tip: Runts® candy comes in a mix of green, red, yellow, purple and orange. You can pretend these are little green apples, red cherries or red apples, yellow bananas, purple grapes and orange oranges
What You Do:
At the start of the activity: Fill the plastic container no more than 2/3 full with the rice. Put in several pieces of the Runts® candy pieces. Put the lid on tight and hot glue it.
Tip: Make one bottle for every three children to share.
During the activity: Show the bottle to the children. Point out that there are different kinds of “food” inside the bottle. Their job is to roll the bottle around in their hands until they see a piece of “food.”
What You Say:  “Come and sit with me. I have something to show you. Watch the white rice while I turn this bottle. Tell me if you see anything. (Wait for a child to respond.) Yes! There are little pieces of food hiding in the white rice. There are little green apples, red apples or red cherries, yellow bananas, orange oranges and purple grapes. Here. You can hold the bottle. Keep turning it and see what you can find. Two women named Ruth and Naomi have to go and look for food in today’s Bible story.”

Make a Match
What You Need: “Food Items” (from the Activity Pages on the Web site), scissors and white cardstock.
What You Do:
At the start of the activity: Make two copies of “Food Items” on white cardstock and cut the cards apart along the perforated lines. This will give you one set of cards to play a game of memory match. To play the memory game, place all of the cards facedown. A child will turn over two cards at a time and try to make a match. If a match is not made the next person has a turn. If a match is made the player can go again.
Tip: Make more than one set of cards so more than one group of children can play at a time. You can pair children up or put as many as four children with each set of cards.
During the activity: Show the picture cards to the children. Ask them to help you identify each food picture. Next, place all of the cards face down and play a game of memory match.
What You Say:  “Boaz helped Ruth and Naomi in our Bible story because they were in his family. God wants families to help each other. God gave you a family to help you too. Who can help you? [Bottom Line] God made people to help me. That’s right! In our story Ruth and Naomi had to look for food, right? Well, I have a game for us to play and we’re going to have to look for food too!”

My Favorite Food
What You Need: No supplies needed.
What You Do: Sit in a circle with the children and play a food memory game. Begin the game by saying. “My favorite food is an apple.” The child next to you will say, “My favorite food is an apple and (their food choice).” The next child will repeat, “My favorite food is an apple, (name of food) and (their food choice).” Assist the children in remembering when the list gets long.
What You Say:
At the end of the activity: “Raise your hand if you like food. (Raise your hand really high.) Me too! We all like food and we all NEED food. Ruth and Naomi needed food in our Bible story today. They also needed help to find food. God gave them Boaz to help them find food. God gives you people to help you too. Who can help you? [Bottom Line] God made people to help me.”

(Ok, so this activity didn’t require any materials, but I found it way too daunting to attempt for a group of 14 2-3-year-olds…)