When one of my publishers asked me to add a Thanksgiving book to my holiday board book series, it took a while for me to decide what to write. The story of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower would be too long to squeeze into twenty-four lines!

I considered what Thanksgiving means to young children and the answer was obvious. Young children celebrate Thanksgiving with family, and it’s a time to thank God for our blessings. The text became a simple prayer, thanking God for food, family, mountains, birds, bumblebees, and more.

Thanksgiving is a day to thank God for his provisions throughout the year. It’s a time to reflect on the past, present, and future with grateful hearts. Having a designated day to express our thanks to God is something to celebrate. But of course, we can remember to say thank you anytime we talk to God.

When we thank God for something specific, it allows us to give God credit for his activity in our everyday lives. Healing a grandchild’s illness, restoring a friend’s marriage, getting an opportunity we were hoping for—the list is endless. I’ve even thanked God for a good parking spot on a rainy afternoon! Being grateful not only honors God but also helps us focus on our blessings rather than our problems.

If God surprises you today with an unexpected blessing, or if you simply make it through another day, spend a moment with him and just say thank you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34 ICB).

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences throughout the U.S. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

 

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I heard the story of a young girl who had memorized Psalm 23 and was eager to share it in her Sunday School class. With as much confidence as she could muster, she stood up and began reciting the passage.

“The Lord is my shepherd—that’s all I want.”

Though humorous and sweet, that statement is packed with truth.

David’s first occupation was a shepherd, and he deeply understood the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. It’s from this experience he penned the most well-known Psalm in the Bible.

Like a shepherd cares for his sheep, God cares for his people, the sheep of his pasture. He provides for us and protects us. He leads us and guides us. He continually pours out his goodness and love upon us. If one of his sheep goes astray, he will search for it and bring it home.

God is our comfort in times of sorrow, our strength when we are weak, and our hope when we are discouraged. Only God can meet all of our needs. If we belong to his pasture, we will be in need of nothing.

May the Lord our shepherd be all we need and all we want.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” Psalm 23:1 (KJV).

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at several writers’ conferences throughout the US. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

 

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In 1776 our country was founded by men who believed in God. Nearly two centuries later, “In God We Trust” was written on our currency, and The Pledge of Allegiance added the phrase “one nation under God.”

Though these statements represent a variety of faiths, belief in God is the common denominator.

As we all know, our nation is becoming more and more secular and many people are turning away from God. But there will always be a remnant who remain strong in their faith and in their commitment to God.

We will always have a voice, although it may be more difficult to be heard. Whether we put words on the printed page, blog posts, or Facebook, we can share our faith and commitment to God and our nation.

We can proudly fly the American flag. We can support veterans. We can volunteer at local schools, shelters, and food banks. There are many ways we can remain patriotic while letting our words and actions reflect our love for God and our country.

Most of all, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. May our lives be a testimony that God is our Creator and we still trust in him.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalm 33:12 NIV).

 

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She’s a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at several writers’ conferences throughout the U.S. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

 

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Almost everyone has a favorite color. Mine is yellow. I love the yellow sun, yellow buttercups, and yellow sweet corn.

But I also like blue. I love going to the beach to see the vast blue sky and various shades of blue in the ocean.

I’m not sure why those colors appeal to me—they just do.

What amazes me is that God is the only One who could think of all the different colors.

What is even more amazing is they have been in existence since the beginning of time. The sun is yellow, the grass is green, and the sky is blue. It’s always been that way and it will always be that way.

I smile when I think how God put orange feet on a duck. And I wonder what He was thinking when He chose brilliant splashes of red, yellow, and blue for the feathers on a macaw.

And what about patterns? Orange and black tiger strips, spotted leopards, and the unique geometric pattern on a tall giraffe—how did He come up with those ideas?

Our human minds will never grasp the magnitude of God’s creative and artistic abilities. The beauty of a rainbow, the majesty of a sunset, and the splendor of a crimson rose reveal God’s greatness. They were created for our pleasure and for His glory. We don’t have to explain it—we just need to enjoy it!

“Lord You are the one who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in the world” (Acts 4:24 ICB).

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. A speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), she teaches at several writers’ conferences throughout the U.S. She’s a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

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I love after-Christmas sales! Wrapping paper, ornaments, and Christmas cards are available at greatly-reduced prices.

One year while buying groceries in a super-store, I steered my cart to the Christmas aisle—just out of curiosity. And there it was—a beautiful, hand-painted ceramic nativity set on display at seventy-five percent off!

Several boxed sets were on a shelf, so I took one and placed it on the bottom rack of my cart. When I got home, I left the box intact and slid it in my Christmas closet.

The winter months came and went, as did spring, summer, and fall. Soon it was December and I began unpacking my Christmas closet to decorate our home. That’s when I found it again—the box with the nativity set I had forgotten.

I opened the box and gently lifted each piece. I arranged the scene on the marble-top sideboard in the foyer, so it would be the first Christmas item people would see as they walked in the door.

Forgetting about the nativity set in my closet reminded me how easy it is to forget the real meaning of Christmas. Decorating, shopping, entertaining, and baking cookies jump to the forefront as Jesus remains in the background.

This Christmas I want to keep Jesus front and center. I want people to see Jesus in me when they enter my home.

I know this phrase has become cliché, but I still love to hear it.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Crystal Bowman is a best-selling and award-winning author of over 100 books for children. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. magazine. She is co-author of Our Daily Bread for Kids, M is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps?

 

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