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  • Posts By: Laura Piraino

    The Ugly Christmas Sweater

    It was a Christmas morning in the early 80’s. Together as a family, we were sitting around the tree as my mom opened a gift from my dad that he had wrapped himself. She pulled away the tissue paper and pulled out a sweater. It was the most beautiful sweater I had ever seen! This sweater was unlike any sweater before it.This sweater was a Christmas sweater. Covered with red dots and Christmas wreaths, it gathered at the waist and had the puffiest sleeves available at that time. Around the neckline was a red and white checkered bandanna with a cream colored lace border that tied in a bow at the front. All I could think was, ‘Someday, I hope that I will wear that beautiful sweater!’ A few years later, my mom was going through her clothes, cleaning out her closet, and I saw the beautiful Christmas sweater in the give-away
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    She Serves

    She went to the river that Sabbath morning. It was the place where she connected, the place where she prayed, it was the place where she worshiped. Those who worshiped at the river were usually women, but this morning by the river, she noticed some men. You see, while Lydia was making her way to the river, God was orchestrating the steps of the apostle Paul to do the same. Their paths would cross in this place of worship and her life from here on out would never be the same. God’s Word tells us that Lydia was a God worshiper. She worshiped the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the Good News that God had come in the flesh in Jesus Christ had not yet come her way. As Lydia listened to Paul share the Truth, her heart was opened. She heard the Truth,
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    Be That Tree

    The mangrove tree makes its home on the shoreline of numerous countries in southeast Asia, particularly those closest to the equator. No one on a mission to landscape a home or beautify a city would request a gardener highlight this particular tree as part of his plan.  An obscure tree that is not particularly attractive, the mangrove tree is not known for its beauty, the mangrove tree is known for its roots. The mangrove tree is not planted by the water on the shore, the mangrove tree is actually planted in the water by the shore. Between each tree, seen resting on top of the water’s surface, is a tangled mess of what appears to be sticks and debris, twisted and entwined to the place where it’s difficult to decipher exactly where the mess begins or where it ends.This unattractive compilation of sticks and debris looks messy, neglected and unpurposed,
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    Share Your Struggle

    I am usually pretty good at packing a suitcase. This summer, however, it was a whole different story!  For our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I went to Rhode Island to tour the old mansions and enjoy the tastes of the waterfront. We travel for food and we are not ashamed to say it! We arrived at our hotel, threw down our suitcases and headed out to explore the town.  It wasn’t until we stopped back at our hotel that I realized I had done the unthinkable! When I unzipped my suitcase and opened it up, what I saw took me by surprise!  Inside of my suitcase, there were NO clothes! I clearly remembered getting my clothes together, I just never had that moment when I put them in the bag! I was on my 25th wedding anniversary trip and I had forgotten to pack my clothes!   I
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    Standing in the Shaking

    Life certainly has a way of shaking us up!  Any one of us could write a paragraph, a chapter, really a whole book, as a testimony to the times when we have found ourselves in circumstances beyond our control — times in life where the shaking has been so extreme that we literally felt like we would fall and not be able to get back up. And we are not the only ones!  All through the Word of God, men and women experienced the shaking.  Those who were being put in position for God’s move in their lives experienced greater shaking than they could endure on their own. But their shaken places produced a strength and faith in their souls that served to bring them through. Those who trusted in the Lord made it through the shaking, and they didn’t just make it through. The made it through standing. They
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    Created to be Filled

    There’s a picture frame in my office on a shelf. I bought it a few months ago, and I am almost embarrassed to say, it’s never been filled. I had a plan when I purchased it. There was an empty space on the shelf that needed to be filled, so I ran to my favorite discount store, found a great frame that matched the office, brought it back and filled the space… …but that filling created a new space, a new empty space. The frame was empty, and now it needed to be filled. The Bible begins in Genesis with a chapter full of empty spaces. In fact, we find Genesis 1 stating that the earth was empty, so God started creating spaces in the emptiness…the skies, the seas, the land. God created empty spaces, and then He went to work to fill them. What God created, He filled…birds for
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    I Cling To You

    Many years ago when my daughter was in preschool, I attended a mom’s group with some girlfriends at a similar place in life.  Our children would play together and participate in various activities while we studied the Word and prayed for one another. It was one of those rich circles of friendship God knit together as we encouraged each other to follow Him. Many of the women in the group thought that my girlfriend, Lori, and I looked a lot alike. We are both fair, have similar hairstyles. We have similar personalities and we get excited about the same things. The women in the group were not the only ones who thought Lori and I resembled one another. It quickly became apparent that her three year old son, Andrew, did too. When Andrew needed some comfort or a reassurance, like all three-year-olds, he would run to his mom, grab hold
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