Back when our oldest daughter, Kristin, was a senior in college and working on her reading endorsement for her degree in Elementary Education, she wrote a book about a family of squirrels that lived in a tree that grew from an acorn that fell to the ground. Of course, Janet and I both remember when Kristin wrote the book and she was very proud of her effort, vowing that someday she would become a published author and write children’s books.
Well, earlier this week, that dream became a reality. In going through some old files from years ago, Kristin found her original manuscript and, with the additional knowledge she has gained from completing her college degree in Elementary Education, her Master’s in a finite area of childhood education and then a PhD in Christian Communications, she re-wrote her book, secured an artist to provide the illustrations and re-wrote her manuscript during the past year. Effective this week, her book is available on Amazon and being rolled out at other booksellers across the country, including Barnes and Noble!
For the past ten years, Kristin has been on staff at Zionsville Presbyterian Church. Her main focus has been in curriculum development for their youngest children and this experience, in concert with her background and years of teaching in the public school system, have uniquely prepared her for what she believes is her life mission. That’s the way it is with God. He doesn’t waste anything and your prior life experiences are usually incorporated into new assignments that you may feel drawn to complete in the name of the Father.
While there are certainly many children’s books in the market, none of them are written from the perspective of attaining the three learning objectives that Kristin addresses in her stories. Those objectives include: sight word development (which is critically important for emerging readers), spiral language (which helps children recognize and anticipate patterns) and repetitive prayer (instilling an “attitude of gratitude” in our children to thank God FIRST for all we have). Additionally, the book also encourages the learning of a simple prayer and the importance of keeping God’s word in your heart.
And as with most things that happen with God, the story develops from a simple premise – an acorn that falls to the ground. I must admit that our verse for this evening was going to be Proverbs 22:6 , “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s one of my favorite verses for children and undeniably is the prayer of every parent.
But I remembered that Kristin referenced another verse as the basis for her book – and that verse speaks specifically of God’s gifts to us. In honoring Kristin’s accomplishment for the Kingdom of God, it makes sense that we should use her chosen verse as the basis for “The Squirrel Family Acorn” this evening. We are told by the brother of Jesus, the apostle James, in the first chapter of his book, James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
My encouragement tonight is that God prepares each of us for a divine call and it is up to us to make sure that we try to accomplish our unique mission. My prayer is that young children and their families across the country will be blessed through Kristin’s offerings and that we can train the next generations to thank God FIRST for all the blessings that He bestows on us. Stay tuned, books two and three are already in the works, addressing other biblically based stories. Congratulations, Kristin! And to all of you, have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…