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the Sacred Snowmen

     The year was 2003 and I was visiting my son (then a teenager). He had his first job but it was part time, and he didn’t make a lot of money. I saw these little snowmen on a sled (about 3 inches high) in this cool store in Detroit Lakes, MN. 

I remember I exclaimed how cute they were, and that was a hard year for us as I had left his dad, he was alone without his mom….

He did this remarkable thing I have never forgotten…..

     A package came…..(from him) at christmas..in it was the (gasp) snowmen and the little tobaggen. I have them (to this day) I can’t look at them without remember the love that shined out of Thomas ….(during a very dark time in his life)….

    Now he’s a man…a minister, a leader..has a wife (and child) owns his own house. He’s a prayer warrior…more of a friend now than ‘a son” but he’ll always be my son even though he is primarily God’s son.  And i have to think….If I being a mere human never forgot that extraordinary act of love….

    How could we ever think God does not notice what his children do, for him? 

 Oh how his heart must smile, just thinking about us…..and the things we’ve done just to honor him……._Laura Grace 

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Christmas Story #9 Angels on the Tree

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Christmas story #8 Angels on the Tree

I wanted angels on the tree, 
and actually prayed for this, you see……..

A friend of mine loaned me hers ……
12 lighted angels…..stem to stern

So I’d just sit and look at them, 
Both Looking forward, and “remembering when” 
I thought of angels, anouncing his birth, 
And I thought about, how much we are worth.

That Jesus would come,for little ol’ me 
and help me have angels……upon my tree.

 by Laura Grace

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Angels We have Heard on High, Sweetly singing  o’er  the plains
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Christmas Story #6 “A viewmaster disaster”

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Christmas Story #6 (12 days of stories) ” A Viewmaster Disaster”

(Sigh) It seems I’ve been telling on myself in these stories. That wasn’t the plan! Maybe God’s plan, but not mine! Anyway it was the 90’s, can’t remember what year, and the man of the house lost his job (again). I tried to shelter my children.

They really had no idea the fear, the chaos or the level of fright I was dealing with. I didn’t want them to know. No child should have to know they are in danger of being homeless all the time or having no dinner, or no Christmas present.

So, I prayed and found this viewmaster with Slides for 5.00 at St Vincent and I probably Told my son “God Provided” and made it sound like the thing was “a gift from God.”

YES I was a good mom. I prayed with them daily, I was faithful with all my heart to be a mom, but hey, I was learning myself! and I try as I might I still made mistakes. Blaming God for this gift WAS a mistake. It was almost detrimental to his Faith system.

So Thomas ripped into the view master all excited (From God! It must be special) and when he saw that viewmaster well he was pretty disappointed. okay VERY Disappointed! And, he cried.

Man I felt terrible. Like the worst mom ever!

Others in “housing projects” who often lied about their income, (and I know they did) bought their kids Play Stations and big ticket gifts at Christmas time. Not so with us. It was God provided, or it didn’t happen other than the sweet benevolence of others.

So how does this turn out for Good (Romans 8) you might ask?

For one thing, when I get someone a gift such as recently for the Kids at Browning, I really THINK about what I am getting. will they like it? Will they enjoy it? Or am I passing off my old time ideas of what I THINK They should like?

 I loved my view master as as kid. my son grew up in a totally different generation. I have to say I would not get excited about a tin cup and a penny either (as some did many years ago). I would say thank you, but I wouldn’t be ecstatic or anything! The Little house on the Prairie children were having a different experience when Mr. Edwards Gave them that “tin cup!” God gives perfect gifts in the perfect timing, and in the perfect way. I would have been off saying “I got you a view master” and leave God out of it! There is more than one layer to this presentation by the way………:) 

In My Zeal to lift up Jesus as the King of Christmas, I failed to see I was misrepresenting God. I don’t think he “chose’ to give my son a gift that brought him to tears. Let’s face it poverty is hard on a kid. (it really is) It produces Character, it can be very GOOD for them, but it’s still hard. by the way…….. Many years later (2007?)

I got him ANOTHER viewmaster as a joke gift at Christmas! He was able to laugh over it Good sign! He came out with Character! Oh the Joy of having children with Character! Who Can abase or abound! And that my friends, is a result of prayer, Faith, and God’s Grace.  

Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for more! -Laura Grace

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”      James 1:17

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Christmas Story #5 Replacing Mom with God and becoming an elitist

12 days 5There was a time I replaced my mom with God.

She knew it, I knew it, and I know now, it wasn’t the same thing as putting God first in my life.  It was a form of giving up (on our relationship).

I sent her Christmas cards and gifts every year, and she did the same for me. We stayed in touch, told each other “I love you” but we both knew, there was a big chasm between us. I will call it “the great divide.”

I really love my Mom. And she really loves me. We had had our trials through the years, and both of us have felt misunderstood, hurt and even trampled at times, by the other. Now we are on a path to restoration. She lives closer, so now we can talk more, and I find that communication in person is far better than what we could ever achieve by letter, or even on the phone.

I think a lot of people try to give their kids what they did not have (growing up) but many do not see how that can make parents feel a little rejected. In making different choices and not holding to what we are taught, it is kind of like saying, “Your way is not the right way,” whether we say those words or not.

My Mom taught me to write thank you cards, and appreciate every gift I was given. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” was a favorite saying, and one I never quite understood.

As a teenager, I did not understand money being tight, nor did I have any idea how very hard it is (or can be) for parents to come up with Christmas money to “make our dreams come true.”

In the show “Little house on the Prairie” we see how grateful the kids are for a tin cup and a piece of candy, but at that time in history, most were poor (out on the prairie) and only a rare few had more than their daily bread. As the prosperous 80’s came forth, then the 90’s, kids were not so grateful for “less,” for the most part. The continual message was, “If they love you, you will get what you want.”

Television shows depicted “all your dreams coming true” at Christmas (Miracle on 34th street is one example) those who have sponge type personalities like myself, well we took it all to heart. “All my dreams can come true, and I’m sticking to it!” was the motto of many.  Even something as simple as that, can become an idol.

How do I know? Because, I did it (at one time). If my dream of getting just what I want for Christmas (or any other time) leads me to stomp on people’s hearts, trample them down, and cease to care how they feel, well “Houston” we may have a problem.

Mom sent me boxes every year, but this one Year I recall, she really outdid herself. She sent a pond with a bear skating on it, (I still have it do this day). She sent grand gifts, a card that played music, all kinds of (wonderful) things.

Man, it hurts to admit this but, I had my eye on what others (in the church) had by this time, and I was fully gone into the ‘all your dreams can come true” mentality. I-will-Prosper-thinking (big time!).

I wasn’t very thankful (as I should have been) for the love that she put in those presents.

I was fully gone in my elitism, (Holier than thou) because I went to church all the time, and she didn’t.

I had my eyes on those who had more (and I was going to have it too!).

I believed if she really loved me, she would get me exactly what I wanted.

What I am trying to say is, I was bad at honoring my Mom, and in my quest to follow Jesus, I stopped listening to her.  Nobody wants to admit they have become an elitist, partial-Pharisee, or holier-than thou in their attitude.

The especially “spiritual” seem the most prone to resisting correction, unless it comes straight from God himself. The truth is God can even use a donkey to rebuke us. (Story of Balaam, Numbers 22:28).

I still loved her, but how could she see it? I rejected almost everything she had taught me to be.

We can’t change the past, but we can be restored.

I think the biggest key to seeing restoration of our own soul(s) is to realize we continually need changing, healing, and sometimes even “attitude adjustments”.

Like the story of Balaam and his donkey, we can be all fired sure we are on the right path, but sometimes we are really fighting God as he directs us toward the one thing we don’t want to do to receive our healing. Getting humble. Humble hurts! But it’s worth it my friends. Sometimes we just need to stop and realize; it wasn’t all them. Look past our own hurt and see “it takes two to tango.” With Love, 

-Laura Grace

Jesus talking to the Pharisees  

 But, you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.” Mark 7: 11-12

Ephesians 6:2 “. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

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Christmas Story #4 “the Cabbage patch doll”

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12 days of Christmas “Story #4” Cabbage Patch Doll.

When My daughter was 4, almost 5, she really wamted a cabbage patch doll. I believed in God, but I had not given my heart to God (yet).

Anyway, I got her one, and well remember the ridiculous way people acted, shoving each other in store to get one, buying more than one and re selling them for double the price (or more). It was ridiculous. cab patch

On top of that hers got stolen, (in church no less) and that was the end of the cabbage patch doll. I have happier stories to tell you, but I must admit this was during my years of darkness.

I tried to find happiness in my own way, worldly things, and I was not a happy person.

I still loved Christmas lights, but I was convinced at that time in my life, if I only had more money I would be happy.

It wasn’t true. I’ve had more, I’ve had less. Happiness doesn’t come from how much we have (or possess) and certainly the cabbage patch doll turned out to be a very fleeting thing.

I am reminded of the book of Ecclesiasties, where the preacher said he obtained everything he ever wanted, and learned it was all vanity (and chasing after the wind). it’s a blessing to know God Loves us “through it all” even when we have wasted some of our time on vain pursuits. He loves us! so much! He is just happy to see us coming down the road…….coming home……

He doesn’t wait to chew us out or say “Done being stupid?” 
He just grabs us, fixes a big feast, and rejoices over us with singing and tears of Joy! What a great Father we have! “Our Father” who is in heaven (watching for us to come down the road to him!” ……with Love, (til next time) -Laura 

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Christmas story #3 Is that you, Santa?

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Laura Grace 
Christmas stories #3 “Santa, is that you?”

I remember thinking as a child (very young, in fact) that Santa had no chimney to come down, at our house. It took me a long time to ask ‘so how does Santa get in?”

This is kind of a special story to me, the one where I say “God and I” had a lot of talks about Santa Claus.

It (seems) like rather trepidatious waters, to shout from the house top there is no santa, when half or more of the world seems to believe in him.

The truth is he was a man born in Turkey, he served God, and he was an orphan. He gave generously, had signs and wonders follow him, and the Catholic church declared him a saint.

The “santa’ We hear about is simply a poem written in the 1800’s “come to life”. i wonder what Saint Nicholas would think about the stories we are telling about him today?

I know if I spent my life serving God and following after him, It would make me sad to be depicted as some guy who goes down chimney’s, with perpetual slaves making toys, and reindeer flying me around the world delivering toys to only “good” boys & girls.

Back in the 90’s, God and I had this big long talk. It was decided that my children would not be taught about santa claus, but we would always give glory to God for whatever he did (at Christmas time). We made an agreement, he and I, and it brought peace to my household.12 days extra extra

I asked the Lord to please “bless my children” at Christmas, and make it special for them. And he did, Year after year. I even have a book of testimonies about it.

St Nick was an awesome guy (and man of God) worthy of knowing about! He was generous, and there is an account he may have even raised someone from the dead!

I wonder if telling our children the truth is a good idea? (just a thought).I know I did. And I have never regretted it.

Far be it from me to have them wonder “what else I lied about” 
🔥😐👑

with love and blessings forever to you and yours.... #santareal#MerryChristmas

Laura Grace http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/how-did-santa-begin/

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Christmas story #2 Going home for Christmas ……(and God’s help)

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Twice. I remember going home for Christmas twice, after I grew up and moved away. The First time I was in the Air Force, and I was at Lackland TX.
 
I found out at the last minute I could go home, but had no money to go. I borrowed it, and got on a bus.
 
I didn’t have any money for eating, and this woman must have noticed, because when she got off the bus, she handed me a reader’s digest and said “Look inside, but not until I’m gone”.
 
Inside was a 10.00 bill. God sent me help (I think). 
The second time I was driving, and my commander advised me it was probably not a great idea to go. I was going to be driving a mountain pass and he said “the weather is not supposed to be good.” I was young and industructable, nothing could happen to me! (or so I thought).
 
I remember well after Christmas was over, the snow started coming down on the way back to the base. By the time I got to the town up on the pass, the weather was so bad, I could not see across the street. The comnander’s words rang in my ears “You will be A WOL if you don’t return the day you said.”
 
I couldn’t see! I got out to call my mom, told her I was okay, and got back in the car. A few miles down the road I saw I was heading BACK to where I just came from!
I strained to see where to turn around, saw a turn around area (now deep with snow) and got firmly stuck. Oh man I was scared! And I prayed! “I don’t deserve it Lord, but help!”
 
Suddenly out of nowwhere, two men appeared in the blinding snow. “Put it in Neutral” He said, And they pushed me out.
 
When I looked to say thank you, nobody was there. No car, no tail lights, Nothing! I have always believed it was angels.
 
Just knowing that kept me calm as I drove the rest of the way in the blinding snow sticking close to the tail lights of a truck up ahead of me.
 
I could not even see the side of the road most of the time and when I got back, I had about a 16th of a tank of gas left. I was so thankful! And to this day, As much as I may want to go somewhere at Christmas I think about what that commander said “If you don’t get back, you’ll be AWOL”.
 
That was one trip I probably shouldn’t have taken, but God’s grace was right there for me.
Thank you Jesus.