Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Wish You A Merry Christmas

My parents didn't have money when I was a young girl.
I don't think I knew that as a child - but if I had been more observant the signs were there.
We had to ask to have a drink of milk, and were sometimes told no.
We had to ask if there was enough hot water to take a shower.
Our clothes were hand-me downs from cousins.
And sometimes our dinners consisted of pieces of bread in a bowl of milk. 

I remember looking forward to Christmas each year with so much excitement.
I was a horrible snoop and would search the entire house looking for gifts that were hidden away.
There was only one year I couldn't find them. 
We would all squeal with excitement on Christmas morning as we opened our treasures.
My favorite Christmas was the year I got a tape by The Bangels, with the song Manic Monday on it.  I listened to that tape over and over again.
Christmas Day was always magical until we went to our family Christmas party.
My cousins, who grew up with money, would show us their new toys and clothes and then ask the question, "So what did you get for Christmas?"
And somehow, that tape by The Bangels didn't hold as much magic as it had earlier in the day.

One year I was snooping in the garage looking for what Christmas morning would bring.
High up on a shelf I saw several large black garbage bags that I hadn't noticed before.
I climbed up on Dad's work bench and stood on my tippy toes to look inside the bags.
What I saw took my breath away.
There were Cabbage Patch dolls, and toys, and beautiful Christmas dresses.
I knew it was going to be the best Christmas ever.
Later I learned that our dear neighbor Pearl Powell had been the one to give us Christmas that year.

Eventually Dad finished school, started his career and was blessed financially.
He and Mom have never taken those blessings for granted.
My parents do everything that they can to bless the lives of others, just as Pearl did for us.
I remember a time when Dad heard of a man who called the church, wanting to sleep on the lawn so that he could come to church the next morning.
Dad drove to the church, talked with the man, and invited him home...where he stayed with us for four days before he continued on his journey.  We had some of his things in our garage for months.

Another time Dad saw a car slide off the road during a heavy snowstorm.  He made his way to where the car was stuck, and brought the cold and scared passengers of that car home where he made them something warm to drink, and gave them blankets to cuddle in until a tow truck could get their car.

At times my parents acts of kindness have been small.  At other times those acts of kindness have been life- changing for people. 

Just the other day a man showed up at work and asked my mom if he could do some work around the nursery to earn enough money to fill his propane tank (so that he could continue to heat the truck where he was living) and to buy his grandson a toy truck for Christmas.  Mom sent him to Dad, and Dad put him to work sweeping and cleaning up around some construction that Dad and my brothers are doing.  Later I asked Dad, "Did you give him the $15 he asked for?"  Dad answered, "I gave him enough to get through the weekend, and I told him to come back on Monday."

I talked to my mom ten minutes ago.  She was on her way to pick up a young girl who just moved in up the street.  She is taking her shopping to buy Christmas gifts for the girl's family, who will have nothing otherwise.

My dad and mom taught me an important lesson...a lesson that I try to remember all year long and not just at Christmas time.  The lesson is simply this:  rather than ask 'what did I get?' ask 'what did I give?'

Thank you Mom and Dad.  Thank you for teaching me the things that really matter in life.

And to all of you, may your Christmas be filled with God's love...because it is there, in abundance


Murdock's mama said...

Wonderful wonderful post! I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes! So often we loose control of the things that really matter.

Venassa said...

Aw you're making me crazy. Your parents are amazing people to do so much. Very inspiring.

Janine said...

Such a beautiful post. Even when we may not have the lavish capacity to give in gifts the way we may desire to, we always have God's lavish love inside of us to give to those around us in so many wonderful and creative ways. Thank you for this beautiful reminder today. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Kristie said...

I seem to remember close to 365 days ago, another Platt (now turned Livingston) opened her heart & wallet so 5 awesome kids could have a Christmas tree.

I really admire that Platt, now turned Livingston.

TortugaRachel said...

Noelle, I am truly humbled to have been privileged to read your post today. Your parents are angels walking this earth and they are such beautiful examples of Christ's love for us and all humanity. The thought of their amazing generosity brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. I only wish the world had more like them. God bless you and your family!

Kristin said...

I am in awe of your family. What amazing people your parents are, and how wonderful to give back in such a generous way. I wish there were more in this world like them.

God bless, and Merry Christmas!!!

Cheeseboy said...

This post was something special. Your parents are Saints. What a great lesson they taught you.

Sara said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful. The world is full of good people, if you can just look past all the bad ones.

Baby Sister said...

And thank you for making me cry. We sure are lucky.

Christina said...

You have such a wonderful family, and are so lucky to have parents like that. And I'm glad there are people out there like them. It makes the world a better place to be. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!!

adrienzgirl said...

Your posts are always something special Noelle. There are days when I need something, and I don't even know what it is. Sometimes it's just to giggle. Some days it's to remember who I am. Others I need to be lifted up spiritually. Regardless of what it is I need, I always seem to find it here, in your words. In your light because it shines so bright. Merry Christmas to you, and thank you for giving me what I needed today, and many other days this year!

Imaginative Me said...

Oh My word. I've heard of generous, kind-hearted souls like this. How wonderful for you to be blessed with them in your life, and as role models. Blessings to you this holiday season. May the world bring you enough of whatever you need.

Debbie Gardner said...

That was interesting to read this first part of your entry because, I never look at you guys as one of the cousin-families that were lacking, why? Because your family was always helping ours, your parents gave us many memorable Christmases. There is one that I particularly remember and to this day I do not know for sure if it was your family, but I remember suspecting that it was you guys...We got a knock on the door and there was a big box of food on the porch and we looked out into the front yard and all our trees were covered with treats, they all looked like Christmas trees with the treats hanging all over them like ornaments. It was so mu8ch fun to go collect all the treats off of the trees. Merry Christmas, love you guys!

-stephanie- said...

I'm glad you weren't too tired to form complete sentences for this post. It was beautiful.

Your parents are beautiful, caring people, and it seems they raised their children to be the same way.
God Bless All of You.

Merry Christmas!

Dazee Dreamer said...

Oh My Gosh Noelle. What awesome parents you have.

And you naughty, naughty girl. checking out the presents.

I love, love, love the new look.

Meghan said...

What great parents you have. Merry Christmas! said...

Noelle, this is so touching. It's more proof how special your family is.
Merry Christmas. xo

Shan said...

Love this! Happy Christmas.

Judie said...

All I can think of is that you are truly blessed!

Anonymous said...

Aww. This made me cry. Bless your Mommy and Daddy, Noelle! They really are special!

Anonymous said...

love this.

so much.

jayayceeblog said...

What a beautiful, heartwarming, awe inspiring post. Your parents are completely wonderful and this message is so needed every day of the year ... What Did I Give? Thank you for the reminder!!!

Bridget said...

Here I am, blog stalking your beautiful blog. This post warmed my heart tonight. Thanks so much for this! :) <3 Thinking of you lots.