Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Story of Thanksgiving Most People Don't Know...

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday.  I like Christmas because it’s the day we celebrate the Savior’s birth, but I don’t like how commercialized it’s become.
So Thanksgiving is it, especially the week of Thanksgiving. When my children were young, I used to read a book which I don’t remember the title, but it told the true story of the Pilgrims and the details we don’t normally hear.
The people who comprised the Plymouth Colony were a group from England who were Protestants called Puritans who wanted to break away from the Church of England. These "separatists" initially moved to Holland, specifically Leiden. There were about 150 to 200 Pilgrims intent on forming a “pure” church in 1608. Leiden proved more welcoming, and many found work in the booming textiles industry but after 12 years of financial problems, the group received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 to settle in the “New World.”

Image result for mayflower"
Initially, the plan was for the voyage to be made in two vessels, the other being the smaller ship called the Speedwell. The first voyage of the ships departed Southampton, England, on August 5, 1620; but the Speedwell developed a leak, and had to be refitted at Dartmouth. This pushed their trip to a later date. A merchant ship called the Mayflower ended up being used and set sail from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England. Normally, the Mayflower’s cargo was wine and dry goods, but on this trip the ship carried passengers: 102 of them (Men, women and children,) all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic where they could freely practice their faith.
The Mayflower traveled the ocean for a very treacherous and uncomfortable 66 days and was supposed to land where New York City is now located. But windy conditions forced the group to cut their trip short and settle at what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. 
Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.
The first Thanksgiving was not called as such, although the Pilgrims themselves may have used the term at the time, the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the first Thanksgiving's exact menu, much of what we know about what happened at the first Thanksgiving comes from Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, who wrote:
“One day, Samoset, a leader of the Abenaki people, and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people, and in March 1621, they joined together to protect each other from other tribes.”
It was also told: “One day that fall, four settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag heard gunshots and alerted their leader, Massasoit, who thought the English might be preparing for war. Massasoit visited the English settlement with 90 of his men to see if the war rumor was true.
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Soon after their visit, the Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the feast and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, different from today's traditional Thanksgiving feast. They played ball games, sang, and danced.”
I think of the great sacrifice these people accomplished for freedom in a new world. If it weren’t for those Native Americans, those Pilgrims would have died.  They were blessed to have Squanto who spoke English, to help them plant and survive.
A hundred years later, in October of 1777 all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration. It also commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. But it was a one-time affair. Here is George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Thanksgiving Proclamation
New York, 3 October 1789

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
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 interposition 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.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the “increase” of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go: Washington”
We are so blessed to live in this country with such great beginnings from those who sacrificed so much to settle this promised land.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Agency and Liberty

Podcast: Agency and Liberty: I had the opportunity to talk with Paul Pulsipher on Stepping into Freedom today. It's an interesting conversation on Liberty and Freedom and our Agency.
Thomas Jefferson described the term liberty in the Declaration of Independence as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. ... For many, liberty means government keeping a light touch on how its citizens conduct their lives, businesses, and associations.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Thomas Jefferson--Declaration of Independence.

Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice. freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.

Title of liberty
Moroni was so angry with Amalickiah's dissention and wicked influence that he tore his coat and wrote upon it, "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."


The state or condition of being able to act and think freely. Obedience to gospel principles frees a person from the spiritual bondage of sin (John 8:31–36).
I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts, Ps. 119:45.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Socialism: A Poor and Unwise Form of Government

For the past several months we  have heard news reports and open opinions about the ideals of Socialism. I was astounded at the positive thought for Socialism in our country from those under the age of 24.  They promote and accept the principles of Socialism.  What?  What has public school been teaching them?

I have been taught since I could remember that Socialism is not good for any country wanting to be successful in their economics, lifestyle, or health. Granted, much of Europe lives under the Socialism rule. It is interesting to note for example, that when Mick Jagger needed heart surgery, he chose a heart doctor in New York, not England.

Our United States has been fighting Socialism since 1776 and I believe has already included too many ideologies of Socialism into our own way of living. It's shameful that those youth pushing for Socialism has only been shown one side of what Socialism is really about. I would like to change that and publish another opinion. We need to teach our youth the whole truth.

Here are fifteen opinions of fifteen men I trust and admire who has given their opinion and advise on Socialism. They are godly men and have led a people through persecution and peace.

From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, our modern prophets tells it like it is on Socialism:

These inspiring words gives us courage to stand up for liberty. Stand for our freedoms when we vote for our representatives, stand for liberty when unrighteous laws are to be voted through. We need to pay attention to our national leaders to promote their goodness. Vote for those representatives who will work for the benefit of our country.

Through the testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints leaders, we know that the forming of our country through the Constitution was God's plan. Through the witness of the Book of Mormon, we know that our land, "a land that is choice land above all other lands" (2 Nephi 1:5) should be protected and it's people should be a righteous people.

Take these words into your hearts and ponder them. Pray to God of what should be done to keep our land free. A land of liberty.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

She Believed She Could So She Did

 How I Survived the Havasupi Hike

Early morning start
I was  nearly hanging by a thick chain standing on the edge of a cliff trying to pull my self up the canyon wall which went straight up into a cave.  This is where I was for a few scary minutes while trying to get my body up the wall to return to the trail from Mooney Falls.  My daughter and son went on down the trail to see Beaver Falls. I was with the rest of our group returning back to the camp site with my granddaughters and the other five, but I was the last one and had to make it up that rock wall to join the rest.

Isie with my father's camping stove Circa 1950

How in the world was I going to climb up? My legs were already tired from the 12 mile hike the day before. But let me start at the beginning. At 59 years-old I dared myself to join my daughter and her group going on the Havasu Canyon Hike to camp for two nights and three days to the bottom of the Grand Canyon along with the Native American HavaSupi Tribe who live there all year round.

An opening became available two weeks before the hike with the group so I had to do as much training as I could to be ready for this challenge.  Lucky for me I was still biking and walking but not like the others who had 6 months to train. I wasn't as limber as I used to be 20 years ago but I wanted to go.

Mooney Falls

Moses in front of Mooney Falls.

I learned to pack for hikes from 20 years experience of camping and hiking and was excited to take my father's old camping stove which was especially designed as a light weight stove for long hikes. We took light weight food and some extra snacks to share. We all ate well during this time and had the chance play games at night and talk. We brought enough water for our hike in as there was a fresh water stream down in the campsite that campers could use while there and filled our bottles and packs with water for the way back.

So the second day there--we climbed down to Mooney falls and I ended up hanging on the cliff at the hardest part convincing myself that I had to push myself up to get to the top. I just seemed stuck there looking down 20 feet and looking up 20 feet.  The hike along the way was fascinating as we passed by strange rock formations. The falls were beautiful and breath taking from the top but we all wanted to get to the bottom to swim and play. We brought our swim suits and towel, and snacks in our back packs. A few hours later, it was time to go back.

It was quite the feat to get down as the water falls created a mist which made the rocks very slippery and treacherous. Several chains were attached to the walls so we could hold on but now I had to get back up. It had to take some muscle power and positive thought that I could get myself up that wall. It took all my might, with both hands and feet to pull myself up and climb to the next level so I could get out.  Relief came with tears and my footing was secure as I made my way to the cave and then to the other side where the trail picked up. My group was still there and I joined them for a happy walk back to our camp site.

There are five water falls there in the area: HavaSupi Falls, Navajo, Mooney, Beaver and the Fifty foot falls. We passed by most of them except for Beaver Falls which is another 3 miles down from Mooney. The area of the falls was so beautiful. You never would have thought that a whole tribe of Natives would be living on the bottom of the Grand Canyon in such a green, beautiful, Shangrela area.

The mules with our packs on the way back

The whole camping experience on the Havasu Trail was a once in a life time experience for me.  A very challenging hike on the way back proved to myself that I can do hard things. With a 35 pound pack, I decided to let the mules carry it for me and just took water and some snacks for our 12 mile trek back mostly up hill. The last 2  miles were steep switch backs with little shade.  It was hot but we trudged on and made it back to the top.
 Truth be known, my son, Moses, helped my a lot by pushing me forward from behind when I slowed down. It helped challenge him more (as he said it was so easy for him) and it helped me get back up to the top. Otherwise, I might still be there walking up those switch backs. It was a once in a life time experience which I will never forget. Even better, it's a reminder to me that if I put my mind to something, I can do it. She believed that she could, so she did.

Top of the Grand Canyon-South Rim
Moses and I along the trail

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Suburban Micro-Farm Experience

I don't post book reviews here very often but this was too good a book to not post my review. 


When I first read about The Suburban Micro-Farm book I was excited to read it and I was not disappointed.  I really love this book.

Amy Stross is an expert in her field of gardening. Her background experience of gardening and micro-gardening gives insight to a world most people don’t know about: turning a suburban lawn in to a suburban garden. Two years ago, I lived in a home with half and acre and had as much room as I wanted for vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Now I am in a home with a very small plot of land in a small city and land management has become very important. Enter The Suburban Micro-Farm which has helped me plan and implement my own micro-farm.

The book is divided into three parts. First, Getting to know the Micro-Farm which includes managing expectations in gardening which helps us to not feel overwhelmed and anxious about planning what to plant and how to take care of our garden.

Part two is Becoming a Micro-Farmer which discusses the actual organizing, planting and maintaining our gardens.

Part three is Advanced Micro-Farming Techniques which includes landscaping with edibles, permaculture and setting yourself up to sell what you grow.

The information is fascinating and there are additional online resources which are very helpful. Her plans work and help in implementing ideas that can inspire generations. In her closing remarks Amy Stross tells us that “Micro-farmers are at the forefront of writing a new story about how suburbanites engage with their environment.” This is so true and a new beginning of independent vegetable gardening for many homeowners will help the future in feeding ourselves and developing healthy soil. A future we can live with for many years to come.