Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Something Extra Special I am Thankful For in 2020

At this special time of year—which is dedicated to giving thanks for all of our blessings—I have something extra special to be grateful for. This week's blog post is dedicated to the unique source of my THANKSGIVING in this unforgettable year of 2020.  

Largely lost in news cycles dominated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the post-presidential election coverage in the United States was the recent passing of an unusually noteworthy and newsworthy event: 

The 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. 

I recently learned that I am a direct descendent of at least eight (8) passengers on that historic ship, four (4) of which signed the famous Mayflower Compact.

These ancestors include (Compact signers in BOLD): 

Signing of the Mayflower Compact
John Tilley (1571-1621) and Joan Hurst (1571-1621)  — my 11th Great-Grandparents

John Howland (1592-1672) and Elizabeth Tilley (1607-1687)  — my 10th GG

Edward Fuller (1575-1621) and Mrs. Edward Fuller (Ann) (1575-????)  — My 10th GG

Samuel Fuller (1608-1683) and Jane Lathrop (1614-1683) — My 9th GG

Click HERE to view the full list of those who signed the Mayflower Compact.

I am grateful for these noble ancestors of mine and am deeply inspired by the sacrifices they were willing to make to cross the great Atlantic at a time when doing so was difficult and dangerous. I admire their faith in God, their faith in themselves, and their faith in each other.

Moreover, I am inspired by the extent to which they were willing to work, strive, sacrifice, and risk everything for FREEDOM—religious and otherwise. As they look down upon me from Heaven above, I hope they are pleased with the way in which I have chosen to live my life and raise my family. I also hope that it brings them joy and satisfaction to see and know that their 9th, 10th, and 11th great grandson values freedom enough to also dedicate his life to its personal and professional expansion and perpetuation throughout the same Great Nation they helped to forge.  

Sailing to America in 1620 did not pose a simple solution to the problems the Pilgrims faced in England. Nor did an easy life await them upon their arrival on the cold, snowy, windswept shores of North America.

In fact, exactly HALF of them (51 out of 102 passengers) died either on the journey or not long after landing. This included two of my own ancestors (Edward and Ann Fuller), who passed away in early 1621, just a few short months after reaching Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts Bay on November 11, 1620. That means they were not fortunate enough to participate in the famous First Thanksgiving

John Howland, perhaps with the aid of Providence,
rescued himself from a watery grave in 1620,
much to the relief of hundreds of thousands
of his descendants, of which I am one!
My 10th Great Grandfather, John Howland—age 28 during the voyage—was famously washed overboard the Mayflower's deck during a terrible storm that struck during the Pilgrim's transatlantic crossing. Fortunately, he was able to miraculously grab hold of a rope attached to the ship and bravely pull himself to safety.

John Howland's story has been repeated hundreds of times in history books and other publications over the centuries, including (more recently) in an article in the Associated Press and a featured book by Irish artist and author, P.J. Lynch

Click HERE to read the Associated Press story about John Howland's watery adventure and rescue

Click HERE to see P.J. Lynch's book John Howland's watery adventure and rescue

I am not alone in this, my family heritage. In fact, approximately 10 million U.S. citizens (and 35 million people around the world) share similar ancestral lines. Possessing such a heritage does NOT, of course, make me existentially superior to anyone else. Indeed, whether you descend from Pilgrim immigrants, the Native Americans who so kindly assisted them after their arrival, or someone who came on the scene later on from any number of different foreign countries and circumstances, all citizens of the United States share something very similar and special.

What is that? 

The answer is: LIBERTY. We all possess liberty. And what is more, we all have the opportunity to work to expand our personal and professional FREEDOMS to whatever extent to which we are willing to pay the price.

Can there be any greater blessing than that?   

How much do you value and seek after FREEDOM?

I don't know about you, but I value and seek after it even more than I want TURKEY at THANKSGIVING, and that is saying a LOT, because I LOVE turkey... and every other delicious delight I plan to gobble up tomorrow afternoon!

Happy Turkey Day Everyone.

And REMEMBER: no matter how difficult or trying your present circumstances may be in the midst of this incredibly challenging year, I challenge YOU to serve up a helping of GRATITUDE that is as least as large as your slice of pumpkin pie.

If you do, I promise you will feel better afterward.

In fact, you might even feel as good as you will while eating that turkey and pumpkin pie. You will, at the very least, feel better than you will after eating all that turkey and pumpkin pie... that is, if you plan on eating as much Turkey and Pie as do I!




Tune in NEXT Wednesday for Part 2 of why I started my own education and training company.  

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