Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

 We are Thanksgiving fanatics. Well, at least I am, and I'm trying my darndest to convert the kids.
 More about the boat poster in a minute, but I just want to capture the love in this little photo sequence.
 Tell me that's not precious.
 Back to the Mayflower poster.
Each year since Lorelei was first learning to write, we've had a tradition of creating a Mayflower with a chain link that shows every generation between the kids (their names on the anchors) to their Mayflower pilgrim ancestors, William and Mary Brewster.
 And this year, instead of a 'Thankful Tree', we filled the poster with boatloads of gratitude.
It's great to pause and ponder our blessings.

 That trampoline is sure a big hit, as you can see it takes up its fair share of space on the crowded Mayflower. More about that in a post soon.
 Here are the sixteen generations that form our chain:
William Brewster (1566-1644) & Mary (1568-1627)(Mayflower Voyage)
Jonathan Brewster (1593-1659) & Lucretia Oldham (traveled later on the ship, Fortune)
Benjamin Brewster & Anne Dart
William Brewster II & Patience ?
William Brewster III & Metchel Ables
Constant Crandall (1721-1762) & Hannah (Brewster) Crandall
James Redmond (1747-?) & Anna Crandall (1747-?)
James Redmond (1760) & Hepsibah ?
Richmond Crandall Redmond (1800-1840) & Poley Borden (1806-1863)
Richmond Cadwell Redmond (1836-1891) & Mary Ann Sherman (1837-1892)
Albert Redmond (1864-1934) & Rubie Griswold (1865-1957)
Rollo Shorthill & Olive Redmond
Donald Luksa &  Marilyn (Shorthill) Luksa Witham
John Garrett & Debra (Luksa) Garrett Bieker
Mark Connelly & Wendy (Garrett) Connelly
Lorelei Connelly, Gryffin Connelly
 Here's William Brewster (and I'm guessing Mary's just behind him) from a painting in the US Capitol Rotunda. He's holding the Geneva Bible (which was outlawed by King James, who created his own Authorized (King James) Version, afraid the Geneva Bible's footnotes about unjust rulers would threaten his power). William Brewster was the spiritual leader of the pilgrims and said the prayer over the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

 We're pretty proud of our brave ancestors, but you could also make a fair argument we're descended from monkeys:

 Every year, we track the kids' growth next to Mr. Gobbles.
 We spent Thanksgiving afternoon at Grammy & Bpop's house with Cousin Meg.

 Arts & crafts, tea parties, football and Modern Family were on the menu.
We spent the evening at home in our backyard. Living so many years in the South, I appreciate so much the beauty of fall! Here's a view into the backyard from our office.
We have a major backyard renovation underway.
 Thanksgiving night, we roasted marshmallows Camp Connelly style and then scurried indoors to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The kids think it's pretty cool to hear their great grandpa's name mentioned on the holiday classic.
 And Friday, we celebrated our own Thanksgiving at home with our friends. What a blessing this family has been in my life.
 Ta'Neishea hit it off with Mr. Tibbles. So precious. Love her.
So grateful for our family and friends and our brave ancestors who crossed an ocean on faith. 
God is good!
Happy Thanksgiving!
The Story of our Ancestors
By Wendy Connelly
1606, Nottinghamshire, England. On Sunday mornings, a drum was sounded at about eight o’clock. Something very hushed and secret was happening at Scrooby Manor, the home of our ancestors, William and Mary Brewster. A crowd of Saints gathered, shuttering all the windows and locking the doors to pray, read the Geneva Bible and sing hymns in secret.
But their secret was not safe, and they were forced out of hiding by all of King James’ horses and all of King James’ men.
“God gives me power to rule over you!” said the King. “You cannot know God apart from who I say He is. If you don’t acknowledge my church and read my Bible, I’ll put you in jail!”
“We follow the rules laid out in the Bible for running our church,” said William Brewster, standing in defiance of the king.
And so William, Mary and the Saints fled England against the law and established their congregation in Leiden, the Netherlands, seeking a more tolerant place to worship.  But William landed himself in more trouble for printing and publishing religious books with his Pilgrim’s Press, books which were sold illegally in his homeland, his ideas still threatening the powers-that-be. 
His partner at the press was arrested, but William escaped and hid for two years until he gained a land patent through the London Virginia Company.  He and Mary were people of dreams as vast as the wide ocean, and with a faith as deep. And courage they would need it all as they and the Saints sailed back to England and boarded two ships in the summer of 1620, the Mayflower and the Speedwell.
The Saints turned back twice as the leaky Speedwell took on water, when finally they abandoned the unreliable ship altogether, cramming like sardines into the sturdier Mayflower.  There were 102 passengers now, William, Mary, their two youngest sons and half the congregation of Saints among them.  With tens more in crew, they embarked on September 16th for their third and final journey to the New World, all for their desire to freely worship God.
The conditions of the voyage were rank.  Below decks, among creeping weevils and bleating goats and chickens pecking at their ears, the Saints endured the stench of sea sickness and the taste of rock hard bread.  Instead of water, which couldn’t be trusted, they drank a gallon’s ration of beer a day—it was an act of God that kept them on a straight course!  And they got a real crick in their necks, the ceilings less than five feet high. 
After many storms, deaths, and a single birth, the Saints landed on November 21st, 66 days later, in Cape Cod.  William Brewster and 40 other Saints penned their names to the Mayflower Compact.
Winter was harsh, and only half the Saints lived through it, holed inside the Mayflower for shelter.  William, the elder and spiritual leader, had to minister to the suffering daily until spring arrived, and God’s blessing with it.
On March 16, 1621, while the Saints built huts further south on Plymouth Plantation, a Native named Samoset showed up to greet them—a Native who spoke English, a sure and miraculous sign of God’s providence.  Days later, Samoset introduced the Saints to Squanto, a “special instrument sent of God for [their] good, beyond expectations,” and loyal friend. 
Squanto taught the Saints how to seize eels from mud with bare hands, tap maple syrup and plant corn by placing the seeds inside of fish, then into the ground.  He helped them survive.
Months later, a harvest grew abundant.  Elder William Brewster offered up a prayer to God, the God for whom he had bravely led a people, like Moses, across a sea toward a Promised Land.  And that day, on the first Thanksgiving, the Saints and Natives celebrated in fellowship, with hearts and bellies full, the blessings of this New World, established under God.

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