Thankful (a repeat)

As seen on a rural church sign:
It’s not happy people who are thankful…
It’s thankful people who are happy


(painting by Henry A. Bacon 1877 of Mary Chilton stepping onto “Plymouth Rock” /
Mary Chilton is my long ago relative)

(as I stated earlier in the week, ’tis a busy and or crazy time for so many…
So I thought this post from last year’s Thanksgiving was worth enjoying again…
of course it is, it was life before 2020…)

Back in the early 1950s my grandmother, my dad’s mother, did extensive genealogy work.
She had her reasons and I confess that I am so grateful she did

It is because of her exhausting work that both my family, my cousins and I,
have a valuable gift of our lineage.

Lineage, that being the line from whence we come.
Even the Bible offers us the extensive lineage of Jesus—
We are also all a part of that same extensive lineage, yet that story is for another day.
Today’s tale is about a single family’s lineage and the gratitude for that lineage.

Now if you’ve read my posts regarding my adoption,
you know I actually have two family trees.

I have a biological tree that I know very little about.
And I also have an adopted tree, a tree and a people that have each embraced me
as their own.
It is a most extensive tree.

What my grandmother started almost 70 ago was no easy task.

She had to do a lot of leg work on her own as well as seek the help of many others.
She had to write a myriad of letters and make many personal phone calls to various state
record departments as well as to state historians in order to enlist their help in
researching her family’s past.

This was long before there were computers, databases, DNA Genealogy companies—
as archaic landlines were the standard norm.
Most calls were considered long distance…meaning you paid extra for long-distance calls.
But my grandmother was determined.

What she didn’t realize then, in her seemingly very personal quest, was
that she was giving her lineage, her grandchildren
one of the greatest gifts she could give.

That of a collective uniting history.

In those days there were no immediate connections, so her quest took time.

She had to request birth, death and marriage certificates.
She had to scour family bibles and records.
She had to have documents notarized and verified.
She traveled to courthouses.
She had to get the assistance of others in other states to visit distant courthouses
and churches and cemeteries in order to do a large portion of the digging.

For you see, my grandmother knew she had come from a line of people who
were important to the founding of this now great nation and she needed the proper
validation to be able to be granted the acknowledgment by such organizations as
The Daughters of The American Revolution, The Daughters of the Mayflower, The Pilgrims Society,
The Colonist Society, The Huguenot Society, etc.

This woman, who was born in 1896 in a small country town in the middle of the state
of Georgia, had actually come to be there by way England.

But from England, it was first to Plymouth…and from Plymouth, Massachusettes it was
to various towns in the colony of Massachusetts then to the city of Bristol in the colony
of Rhode Island, next, it was to the city of Savannah in the colony of Georgia
and finally to the tiny town of Molena in the state of Georgia…
but the final resting place was to be Atlanta, Georgia.

Her 10th great grandmother was Pricilla Mullins of London, England.
Pricilla Mullins was married to John Alden of Essex, England.
John was a cooper aka, a barrell maker.
John had a dream and Pricilla shared her husband’s dream.

They were on that fateful ship that we tend to remember each Thanksgiving,
just as we remember that first colony of Plymouth and of that first
celebration of not only survival but the beginning of thriving in a new land.

The Alden’s first daughter born on this new mysterious land was named Elizabeth–
the purported first white European girl born to the Plymouth Colony.

So yes, Thanksgiving is important to me on a family’s historical level…
but it is more important to me as a grateful American.

For it matters not how we came…be it those who were first here on the continent,
or if we came via Plymouth, a slave ship, Ellis Island or came with a visa in our
hand seeking citizenship…we have come…
We also have come in various shades of color.
Red, White, Brown, Black, Yellow…

We fought and died creating a new nation just as we’ve fought and died keeping her free.

It troubles me terribly that our society has developed a tendency to gloss over Thanksgiving…
basically jumping from Halloween to Christmas in one fell swoop…
But we can blame that on our obsession with materialism…
which is in actuality a loss of thankfulness.

Yet what is most troubling is that we now have many voices crying out that we rename this
day of thanks.
Some smugly stated that this is only a day of overindulgence and eating.
They claim Thanksgiving is not a day this Nation should recall let alone recognize.

One of our fellow bloggers, Citizen Tom, offered the following post regarding
our Nation’s Thanksgiving observation and celebration.

I highly recommend taking the time to read his post as it is a beautiful reminder
as to why Thanksgiving matters.

AN AMERICAN FIRST THANKSGIVING

This from President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789:

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next
to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being,
who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is,
or that will be–
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–
for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming
a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions
of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–
for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty,
which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner,
in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government
for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–
for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed;
and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;
and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath
been pleased to confer upon us

hanging on by a thread

Oh, I am not redeemed by corruptible things
Not by silver, not by gold and not by aimless tradition
But by the blood of Gods sacred son Jesus
Oh, You alone are my living hope and my inheritance is incorruptible

Watermark, Incorruptible lyrics

God has ordained that Satan have a long leash with God holding on to the leash
because he knows that when we walk in and out of those temptations,
struggling with both the physical effects that they bring and the moral effects that they bring,
more of God’s glory will shine.

John Piper

DSCN3232
(Georgia box turtle ambling across the driveway that has nothing to do with today’s post, I just like him / Julie Cook / 2016)

I am tired.
spent,
worn out,
frazzled
and frayed.

I don’t think I’ve even realized how stressed I’ve been until just recently.

It really started to ramp up with Dad and my stepmother over a year ago…
Their failing bodies, minds and health…
Caregivers coming and going, nurses leaving,
frantic calls, frantic racing to the rescue….

We added my father-n-law to the mix..
Then came his sudden death.
And now a wealth of woe comes with attempting to settle his affairs…
A legal nightmare really.

There’s been the worries parents still have over their grown children…

There’s the business and the agony of retail…

There’s all of that and even so much more….

It’s as if an all out assault has been coming in on all sides…
a blitzkrieg of attacks.

Nerves raw, emotions reeling…as one works to hold it all together…

Take care of yourself they say—
Well, that’s all fine and good but the main person charged with all the caring can’t
just runaway…
however there are days that such a thought is more than just a little appealing…

I think I’ve lamented the fact before…
I spend more time these day’s in a five mile radius of where I grew up
than I do here at home in my own community.
I’ll also be the first person to tell you—DON’T move to Atlanta…
or any other major metropolitan city for that matter—they are just too blasted big…
chalked full of people and their cars that they cannot drive.

There was a time when I loved Atlanta.
I missed it when I was away at college.
I missed it when I was away working during the summers at camp.
I mourned it when I graduated college and moved away taking my first job.
After I married, I finally said good-bye to that hidden thought of one day returning…
to live….

Silly me.

I now neither miss it nor mourn it.
In fact, I now loath it.
As it is no longer the city I knew growing up.
Sadly I believe they call that growth and progress…
I call it a mess.

Dad still lives in the same house they bought when I was 3, way back in 1962.
The area around it however, the neighborhoods and that small community feel, is shrinking.
It’s as if the walls are closing in, but rather than walls, it is entire neighborhoods.

Entire homes are now either demolished and rebuilt into those so called “mcmansions” or they have been entirely obliterated, making room for mega office towers or shopping complexes, along with the resulting urban sprawl.

At the top of the main street, a main artery that Dad’s little street runs into, there once was a condominium complex. It had been there since I was in high school–a good 45 years ago.
Many of the unmarried teachers who worked at my high school actually called it home.
Not that the complex was pretty or particularly nice–but it was low rising, only two stories and the site was lush and wooded, offering a secluded feel in the midst of the city.

Over the years the clientele has changed, as has the whole area.
And once again progress steps in.
A couple of months back, the entire complex was totally demolished as the massive corner of rolling acres was clear cut, graded and leveled.
A new live, work, shopping community is going up.
All this about a mile up the road from Dads.

As I was heading back home this afternoon from Dads, I noted the hive of construction now taking place.
There was a gigantic crane lifting sheets of concrete high up into the air so effortlessly that the massive concrete slab being fit into the massive parking deck like a puzzle piece, appeared suspended like a mere piece of paper swaying gently in the breeze.

Here was a multi ton slab hanging in the air by a single thin cable…dangling from a huge crane.
The construction workers below, donning their hard hats, watched as the crane operator easily maneuvered both crane and slab, angling the concrete sections into place on the ever growing massive parking deck.
Piece of engineering cake.

Yet I knew that with one snap of that cable, all those men below would be crushed out of site.

“Such faith” I heard myself muttering to no one in particular.

It was amazing really.

Those men had such a trusting faith in that crane operator and more importantly in that single thin cable…

A cable of faith…

Much like the same sort of cable that holds me…
As I am suspended between this life and an omnipotent God.
A cable that links me to an unconditional Love.
A faith that holds all that I am, extended from all that He is.

It is knowing that He is holding on, not letting go and that I am tethered…
Attached to something so much bigger and so much greater…
That cable of faith, linking both created and Creator, is my unbroken connection
to the one true Hope
It is knowing that nothing on this earth escapes Him…
His knowledge, His vision, His Love..
That I am His and He is mine…

And just like the construction workers working beneath the crushing slabs of concrete, I too can go about my business with the weight of the world hanging over my head knowing that everything is going to be ok because He is totally in charge and will not allow me to be crushed….

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Luke 12:6-7