Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Gifts

Below is a link to an article entitled "A Good and Perfect Gift" in Apostrophe magazine. One of the speakers at church read parts of the article in connection with a talk on thankfulness. He pointed out that all the gifts we have, we have done nothing to earn. Our gifts are just that: gifts. I thought of my gifted family and realized how blessed I am and how blessed they are. Still, it is easy to think we deserve our gifts and lose sight of the giver of those gifts. When you open the link, the article is on page 8 of the magazine. You click the top right hand corner of the magazine image to turn the pages. Here is the link:

My Personal Trainer

I wonder if other people have the same trouble with their personal trainer that I have with mine. My personal trainer is a chocolate lab mix who accepts no excuses, ever. It can be blizzarding, I can be sick, it can be pouring rain. He doesn't regard any of these circumstances as reasons to forgo a walk. Actually, he runs. I walk. And he wants me to walk for at least an hour.

We woke up to -12F this morning. The personal trainer doesn't care. He wants a walk and he wants it now. He has no respect for the Sabbath and thinks that is no excuse for not walking. If he doesn't get a walk, he pesters, he pants, and he annoys. But at least he doesn't send me a bill every month.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More on the Pilgrims

When we last left the Pilgrims, they were just leaving ship in the New World. According to notes from Frances Jean Jones-Lory, the first winter was NOT walk in the park:

During the first winter in America, the Pilgrims buried half their number leveling their graves and sowing grain over them in the spring in order to conceal their misfortunes from the Indians.

When William Brewster arrived at Plymouth, he was accompanied by his wife, Mary, and two sons, Love and Wrestling. (The Pilgrims purposely chose such names as peace, love, patience, for their children. They wanted to emphasize their separation from the established church which perpetuated the saints of the church calendar in naming children.) The rest of his children came over afterward.

According the above-referenced note-taker’s sources, William Brewster “…possessed that happy attitude of mind which could accustom itself to all circumstances…” Wilbur is a descendent of the Brewster also. I see the resemblance here.

Brewster taught twice every Sunday when the fledgling colony found itself bereft of a minister. He took a prominent part in the affairs of the colony and served in the Indian Wars under Miles Standish. Brewster loved books. Jones –Lory states, “Nearly every ship which came from England brought books to Brewster, and at his death his library inventoried 400 volumes, 62 of which were in Latin. There were 98 commentaries or translations of the Bible.” The acquisition and enjoyment of books is definitely a Robertson trait, although the Robertson men in my past seemed to prefer Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey to the Bible.

I am awestruck by the kind of people our ancestors were. The idea that someone could put me in jail because I don’t want to worship in a mode established by the government is bizarre to me. It is so easy to be complacent about the blessings afforded U.S. citizens in the Bill of Rights. I don’t even want to think about enduring living conditions so deplorable that I could lose half of my friends and family. Since the Pilgrims came to this country for religious reasons, it seems logical that they might have expected God to rescue them from all hardships and trials. I’m sure there were those who became bitter and angry. But it seems like many of our ancestors were so filled with faith they were able to get through and go on, even when things didn’t turn out the way they expected. On this line, we come from good stock.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Pilgrims and Me

I always think about my Robertson ancestors this time of year. Several years ago I was at a dead end on the Robertson line my father’s genealogy. I had always wondered about my great grandfather Robertson’s origins. Because of my mother’s opinion of my father’s family, I was wondering if his family members were hillbillies from the Appalachian Mountains or pirates off the coast of the Carolinas. Near Thanksgiving of 1998, October 26 to be precise, I discovered my great grandfather’s line tied into Mayflower. I found the Robertsons were descendants of William Brewster and Isaac Allerton, both Mayflower passengers. I don’t know much about Isaac Allerton, but I do know a little something William Brewster, who is also Wilbur’s ancestor.

The following are notes I condensed from Frances Jean Jones-Lory:
William Brewster was postmaster for many years in Scrooby, England. Now a Postmaster deals with packages and letters. Three hundred years ago a Postmaster dealt mostly with horses. Letters posted then were mostly governmental correspondence. He was responsible for relays of horses along the post road. Brewster did not live in little house on a side street but had a grand mansion called Scrooby manor. He was appointed by the government and had what was considered a handsome salary 300 years ago.

About 1602 his neighbors to assemble at the manor house for worship and Brewster “…did much good in promoting and furthering religion.” Brewster and his friends organized a branch of Separatists. In the face of persecution, he and his friends chartered a Dutch boat in 1607 to take them to Holland. Through the treachery of the captain, he and his friends were seized and imprisoned. A year later he reached The Hague. At Leyden in 1609 he was chosen to be ruling Elder of the Congregation. Brewster and his family stayed in Holland for 12 years. He supported himself and his family by teaching English. He also was engaged in printing secretly religious books banned by the English government. In 1619 the types of Brewster and his cohorts were seized and he and others involved were arrested. Brewster, however, escaped the same year with Robert Cushman. Cushman obtained a land patent from the Virginia Company.

In 1620 Brewster was selected to sail with the advance guard to the New World. The Pilgrims sailed from Delftshaven in late July of 1620, then from Southampton on the 5th of August and finally from Plymouth on the 6th of September 1620. After a stormy voyage of 10 weeks, they anchored in Plymouth Harbor, November 21, 1620. In the “…cabin of the Mayflower Elder William Brewster drafted the first written constitution in the history of the world –a marvel of clearness, brevity, and strength..”
This is getting long. I want to tell you a little more about William Brewster later. But so far, I am not finding anything to be ashamed about in this line of my Dad’s family. I am only glad they got out of the Old World just as soon as they could.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Voting Day

It's a beautiful fall morning of 44 degrees. I get dressed, have breakfast and then run down to vote at the school where all five of my children spent their elementary years.

I walk in the door and run into Bonnie who is working at the election. Bonnie's youngest child went to school with Petunia and one of her grandsons is the same age as Orville. "Tell me about Heather," I invite.

"She's teaching down in Texas," Bonnie responds. "She just loves her job! We see her about once a year at Christmas. She is active in her church there and seems to be happy. How about Petunia?"

"Petunia and her family live in Outer Slobovia. Petunia's husband works for a firm that manufactures whiz bangs. Petunia spends most of her times chasing her kids around. When she has a minute, she provides professional advice to a hot air balloon delivery service. They seem to like Outer Slobovia. Nice to run into you. Guess I'd better vote."

"Right," says Bonnie. "Could I see some ID?"

Some of the laws that make sense in other places seem absurd here.