“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate, when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”— Author Unknown

I grew up on a farm that has been in the family for nearly 200 years. Having been in the family for so long, the farmhouse is a treasure trove of pictures and documents that show the history of the farm, my ancestors, and events that touched their world.

In combing through the accumulations of the years, we’ve found a first edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as well as a newspaper printed in 1912 announcing the tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic. There are paintings and photos of many of my family members and others who lived and worked on the farm. We’ve also found photos that documented the changes and challenges brought by the Great Depression.

The item that struck me most was the marriage certificate of my great-great-grandparents AJ and Ellen. They were married in 1866 in the midst of the American Civil War.

I am thankful that my great-great-grandparents found a reason to be hopeful during the midst of an extraordinarily hard time in our history.  I am thankful that they continued to build a farm that has stood the test of time for nearly two hundred years.

In the USA, this week brings our Thanksgiving holiday. My focus this week is centered on being thankful for those who approach life with belief and hope and keep making our world a better place.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

My great-great-grandparents AJ and Ellen

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