Friday, November 29, 2019

Kick-off of Christmas Memory Sharing Posts!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”  James 1:17 (KJV)

Now that Thanksgiving Day is over, I have a confession to make!
We have been so excited for Christmas at our house that we put up our tree on November 18th!
Thanksgiving Day seemed to come so late this year, and we just couldn't wait any longer!
During our 31 married Christmases, one of my favorite parts has always been turning off the lights at night and staring at the twinkling lights on our Christmas tree.  We still use the same, exact artificial tree we bought the first Christmas we were married, and it still looks brand new after all these years and the many times we have taken it out and put it back into its original box!
You can catch a glimpse of it in the photo below that Zach used to create the graphic to advertise our upcoming Christmas Memory Sharing posts!  Didn't he do a great job on this graphic?


We are super-excited to start sharing the beautiful Christmas memories from so many of you amazing friends and readers!  After publishing this post, the emails started coming in, and oh, my!  They are each one just wonderful and so very heartwarming.  If you aren't already in the Christmas spirit, reading them will soon get you that way!!

There's still plenty of time and space to share YOUR story with us!  Please refer to this post for instructions.  The more the merrier.  Someone needs to hear YOUR story!

To kick off the Christmas Memory Sharing, today I am re-posting a story I wrote about during the first Christmas season after starting Homespun Devotions.  It is a true story from my very own childhood, and I hope you enjoy reading it!  Stay tuned because you do not want to miss the other writers' heartfelt stories we will be sharing here over the days leading up to the day we celebrate Jesus' birth!! 

Story first published on Homespun Devotions on 12/16/2011

I don’t remember the exact year, but I was somewhere around five years old.  Dad’s work had been unsteady, and we were struggling financially.  Christmas was coming, and no one in our household had any idea how we would buy gifts.  We had pretty much decided there wouldn’t be much of a Christmas—at least not in the way of giving and receiving gifts.  But then one day, it all changed.

Dad used to describe himself as a “jack-of-all-trades, yet master of none.”  He had a little bit of knowledge in the area of plumbing, electrical, car mechanics, all types of maintenance, and a host of other things.  He was the best improviser I have ever known.  He could take almost anything that was broken and rig up some way to fix it.  If he didn’t have the right parts, he would create them out of the most unlikely objects.  Dad could do a lot of things, but one of his most enjoyable “skills” involved trash-picking.

Yes, you read it right—Dad loved to go through trash.  He loved to see if there was anything salvageable that he could reinvent, re-use, or recycle into something useful.  He could very easily have been the man who coined the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  He worked for a while for the sanitation department and rode on the back of a garbage truck.  Dad was a very humble man, so positions that other people would find degrading didn’t affect him or make him feel degraded in the least.  He wasn’t one for caring what other people thought of or said about him, and he didn’t have an ounce of foolish pride in him.  He just accepted things as they were, and he made the best of the hand he had been dealt.

He loved his work with the sanitation department, obviously not because of the horrible smells he had to endure while riding on the back of the truck waiting for the driver to stop so he could empty people’s trash cans, but for the “goodies” he would find from time to time.  I remember one particular day when he came home with a beautiful crocheted afghan that someone had carelessly tossed on the top of their trash.  Mom washed it thoroughly, and my family used it for years.  I still remember its vibrant color scheme and how pretty it looked on the back of our couch.

Dad had a very dear friend named Jimmy, and he would sometimes enlist Jimmy in his trash-picking endeavors.  Dad was a husky, strong man, and Jimmy was considerably thinner and more limber.  Now, you can choose to believe the following story or not, but I can assure it is absolutely the honest truth.  During Dad and Jimmy’s trash-picking escapades, Jimmy would climb up on Dad’s shoulders, Dad would stand outside of garbage dumpsters, and Jimmy would dive in.  This was way before the term “dumpster-divers” was invented.  Who knows?  Maybe someone observed their method and came up with that term! 

Jimmy’s family was struggling, too, and at the time, he and his wife, Dorothy had two little boys—  Jimmy, who was about a year older than me, and David, who was the same age as me.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so right before the above-mentioned Christmas, Dad and Jimmy decided to go out trash-picking.  In their search, they came across a toy store and stumbled upon a dumpster goldmine in the back of the store!  Now that I am grown and know how much it means to Kevin and me to see the thrill in Zachary’s eyes at Christmas, I can only imagine how Dad and Jimmy felt when they discovered what was in that dumpster!  It must have felt like the ultimate trash-picking treasure chest!

Once again, Jimmy climbed on Dad’s back, while Dad stood outside the dumpster.  Toy after toy after toy came to the surface, as Jimmy searched through the rubbish.  All of them had some slight defect, just enough to make them “unsellable,” but they were brand-new in their original boxes!  They brought the toys home, and what a Christmas we had!  I will never forget the thrill in my heart, when my Daddy handed me a beautiful Snow White doll that talked when you pulled her string!  Even though she had a minor imperfection and stuttered a bit, it never made any difference to me.  For years, I loved and cherished her, and she and I spent many happy hours together.  Little Jimmy and David felt the same about their toys, and Christmas was extra special for all of us that year.

I look back on that Christmas as one of the happiest of my childhood.  It didn’t matter to any of us where our toys came from—we were just so grateful to have toys.  To us they were good and perfect gifts, and our hearts were filled with thanks to God for making it possible for us to have them.  

After all, every good and perfect gift comes straight from Him, no matter where we find it. 
Written by Cheryl Smith

14 comments:

  1. Oooooh Cheryl, what a heartwarming ❤️ Story!! I loved reading about your Dad and Jimmy and finding that dumpster full of amazing gifts for their children. The story could be made into a wonderful movie!! I could just feel the love you had for your Snow White (my favorite Disney character). Thank you for sharing that treasured memory with us and the gratitude that you felt. What a gift!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, my friend! I wish I still had that little Snow White doll. I have no idea whatever happened to her, but she brightened so many of my days as a little girl! I am so glad you enjoyed the story. Much love to you!

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  2. Oh, what a marvelous story, Cheryl! I sure wish I had one that grand to share; I'm still thinking. Thanks so much for sharing this special memory with us.
    Blessings!

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    1. Thank you so very much, my friend! I am sure your stories are every bit as grand! I am so grateful for your sweet visit and kind words! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

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  3. This is one of my favorite stories to hear you tell, Mama. As beautiful and well-written as this post is, I wish all of your readers had the privilege of hearing you describe it in person, as I do. This was the perfect start to the Christmas Memories, and I can't wait to hear all of the stories yet to come! So blessed to have you and Daddy as my parents, and I hope the Lord blesses our family to be able to share many more merry Christmases together.

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    1. Oh, dear son! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your precious, kind words! You mean more to Daddy and me than I could ever, ever put into words. I hope the Lord blesses the three of us with many many, many more merry Christmases together, too. It is the constant prayer of my heart for as much time with the two of you as God will give. I love you with more love than my heart could ever hope to hold.

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  4. So many beautiful blessings God gives... and sometimes in the most unlikely places. His provisions are amazing - especially in experiencing the love of receiving what was sought out in love for you. What a precious memory for you and your family... thank you for sharing it. :)

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    1. Yes, I look back and think about my dear Daddy and what he did for me, it makes me cry. He was always thinking of others, and he and Mom were two of the most selfless, giving people I have ever known. It surely is one of my most precious memories - there are so many! Thank you so much for your sweet visit and kind words, my friend!

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  5. I remember reading this story here before and it touched me as much this morning as it did when I read it the first time.

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    1. Wow, that blesses me beyond words! Your long-time loyalty, support, and encouragement is appreciated more than I can say. God bless you, sweet friend!

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  6. Hello dear friend! Your dad sounds so much like mine, minus the dumpster diving. lol. But he too was a jack of all trades and could fashion all sorts of things. In fact, before campers and trailers came with their own curtains and awnings, my dad designed and orchestrated his own systems. He was a man ahead of his time. To me there was NOTHING he could not fix. I love that we have yet something else that solidifies our kindredness. :-)

    I just LOVED this story!! Isn't it amazing how the Lord provides to delight for His children, even from the bottom of a dumpster!

    This story put such a smile on my face tonight. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for hosting this wonderful post series.

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. OH, that is so sweet that your Dad and my Dad had so much in common! I declare, I think we must be sisters! LOL! I felt the same way about my Daddy when I was little - there was nothing he couldn't fix or do, in my eyes. I miss him so much. Thank you ever so much for your sweet words and precious friendship, Karen. May the dear Lord richly bless you! Sending much love and gratitude back to you!

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  7. Cheryl, what a precious story that brought tears to my eyes. Isn’t it funny how the more simple and humble things are the more we cherish and remember the experience. I am so glad you re-posted this beautiful story of a childhood memory!

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    1. Aw, you are so sweet, my friend! YES, those simple things - oh, how we long for them as adults! I so appreciate your sweet visit and kind words! Many blessings to you!

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