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In this episode, we’re diving into the Thanksgiving story, bringing out the lessons of the pilgrims and Squanto and how they tie into our own mantra of ‘prepare to share’.
Join us for a mix of storytelling, practical tips, and a bit of Thanksgiving warmth. We’re all about learning from the past to better our present, embracing gratitude, and really living out that ‘prepare to share’ way of life. Hope you’ll tune in and share this journey with us!
- Sustainable Preparedness – details on how to make your homestead systems (water, power, heat, etc) more independent
Hi, I’m Nick Meissner. And I’m Lisa, his wife. And we want to welcome you back to the Ready Life podcast, where we show you how to make your home and family as independent as possible for basic necessities like water, food, and heat, and the power that most of us depend on for these things.
You know, around this time, 402 years ago, a tale of 2 peoples was unfolding. 1 had been relentlessly persecuted in their native country, so they fled to the New World, a place that was so incredibly far away, so new and so raw that it might have well have been the moon, you know? It was that different and foreign to them. But they decided that it was better to brave the hardships of the wilderness and all of that rather than to face persecution, possibly being tortured or massacred or whatever back home.
So they took the two-month voyage. It was 2 months long crammed in this little cabin of the ship with very limited food that was going bad by the end of the voyage, and everything was soaked with water, and a bunch of seasick people tossed on the ocean, all of this, you can use your imagination to just picture what that voyage was like. And only a percentage, I forget what the percentage was, but I’ve seen it before, just a small percentage of boats that made that voyage would ever arrive at their destination. This was a really, really dangerous undertaking, but they made this voyage and they arrived finally, but extremely unprepared for the harsh climates that were faced here in America, in New England in particular, and you know the rigors of carving a settlement out of the raw, untouched wilderness without any external aid whatsoever, anything. And you know, settlements like this often had gone badly before.
In fact, almost all of them had failed pretty quickly because there was just too much to go wrong. And I think that so many of these folks were not, they didn’t have the knowledge and the skills of how to survive in this kind of a situation. I think a lot of them were probably city slickers to some extent by the standards back then. I think a city slicker back then is probably equivalent to a country person now. Probably, with our conveniences today.
Right, But in the times that they were in, these were not folks that were mountain men, that were used to going out and just living in the wilderness kind of thing. And so many of them never made it through the winter. Yeah, It was very difficult to get colonies or settlements established here in America for many years. They’d been trying to get something established. Until 1620, the Mayflower made it to its destination.
And the pilgrims, when they got here, it was around September. And they were faced with a harsh winter ahead. And so many of the pilgrims decided to just stay on the boat. Some of them tried getting something set up quickly before the winter snows hit, but unfortunately many of them, in fact I think 50% of them didn’t make it through the winter. 50% of the pilgrims didn’t make it through the winter and of the ones that did make it through the winter you know they had been dealing with so much sickness and malnutrition because they didn’t have enough food really.
So by the time spring of 1621 rolled around, you have a group of very weak, malnourished individuals trying to set up in a state. You can see why, you know, settlement after settlement was started and none of them really would make it long term because, you know, here were these pilgrims. They were dying essentially, being malnourished and weak after a long winter. Now they’ve got to try and figure out how to carve a home out of the wilderness and grow or find plants to eat or something. It didn’t look very promising for them until an Indian showed up in their camp.
And guess what? He spoke English. His name was Squanto, right? Well, actually, I think there was another Indian that showed up first who spoke English. And then he went and got Squanto.
I imagine the records might not be all perfectly clear but anyway Squanto was definitely there and he spoke English and when he saw this group of pilgrims he took pity on them and He went out and he showed them how to plant corn. He showed them how to fish in the rivers and lakes there. He showed them how to tap trees for maple syrup. He taught them the skills that they needed to survive, but not only survive, to thrive. And so by November of that year, after they’d had their first corn harvest, and it was very successful, the governor of the colony decided that they needed to throw a huge celebration for this wonderful harvest.
So they invited Native Americans and the celebration lasted like 3 days and that was kind of the beginning of today’s traditional Thanksgiving. But man, I just I think what a blessing that Squanto showed up with the skills that he had and that he was willing to teach them how to fish, instead of just showing up and giving them some food, he actually took them out and showed them, hey, this is how you catch the type of fish that we have here in our lakes and our rivers. And he showed them how to plant corn so that they would have their own corn harvest. I just wonder if this colony would have ever made it if he hadn’t showed up when he did. Yeah, living that principle of teaching a man to fish rather than just giving him a fish.
Exactly. And wow, what an impact it had. And because these friendly Native Americans were prepared and equipped to survive and thrive in the wilds, They were able to share and be a blessing to these refugees who showed up on their shores. They were prepared to share. And that’s kind of a phrase that we’ve used for many years, prepare to share, because it’s the second half of this whole thing.
You know, we talk a lot about being prepared and you know, basic necessities of life and making sure your family is squared away and all of this. But all of that is just the first half of the equation because once you’ve got your 4 walls squared away, once your family is squared away, which is your first responsibility, that’s our God-given first responsibility is to our family. Once that’s squared away, The second half of this equation is now you’re in a position to share with others that are in need of help. And I know that we and perhaps a lot of others have, as we’ve thought about this and prepared for it, we think of times in the future when there’s going to be catastrophic things happening and a lot of people and a lot of need, and you think of what can we do to help folks like that. And it’s just something that I think it’s essential that we work this into our preparedness plans so that our preparedness doesn’t become a selfish thing, you know, and There’s nothing wrong.
Preparedness in itself is not a selfish thing because for this reason, you can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t give what you don’t have. Makes me think of the story that you shared in Urban Danger about the Great Depression, or stories that came from the Great Depression talked about the soup lines, all those people standing in line, and yet who was there serving the soup? Somebody had prepared and they were able to make the soup and then have enough that they could share with their community. And I think that’s such a beautiful principle about living a more prepared lifestyle is that when hard times come because you can never like always anticipate like oh next year we’re not going to be able to buy anything from the grocery store we don’t know that But if you live a prepared lifestyle, then you’re in that position where you can be providing this soup to help your neighbors or your community out.
Right. How? I think that’s such an awesome example of how are you going to help starving people with a bowl of soup if you’re standing in the soup lines yourself. That’s right. That’s right.
You cannot give what you don’t have. That’s right. That’s right. And you know it makes me think of another illustration that is very familiar to a lot of us when you fly on an airplane and they give you the safety briefing about all the different things, actions that you’re supposed to take in an emergency. 1 of the things they say is if the cabin, if the airplane cabin were to lose pressure up at altitude these little masks will fall down from the ceiling and it’ll have oxygen flowing through it.
And then they say something that was always very kind of troubling to me. They would say, if you’re flying with children, then they give specific instructions about who you’re supposed to put the masks on first. And who is it? You have to put it on yourself first, which seems so selfish. Like, no, I would put my children ahead of myself, right?
Exactly. But no, they say you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first. And like I say, it troubled me, but then it kind of made sense because when you think about it, my understanding is that when you’re up at altitude, you lose pressure and you’ve got mere seconds until you pass out. And so if you’re spending your time putting your mask on your kids or putting a mask on your kids, you’re probably gonna pass out in the middle of that process and then you’re all gonna die. But if you immediately get your mask on, get your supply of oxygen secured, you are now in a position to be part of the solution for others rather than part of the problem.
And so you get your mask on and now you can be helping your children and those around you. But if you don’t get that oxygen mask secured, you are gonna be part of the problem and others are gonna have to help you rather than you helping others. So that made so much sense to me and this is yet another reason why it’s so important that we do our best to make our family as independent as possible for basic necessities of life. Because the more independent you are, then the more you’re gonna be in a position to help your community and your neighbors and your family or friends. And so that’s really where the blessing is at.
Right. So you know many years ago when we realized that we needed to use our experience to help others, we thought that we were gonna be using our construction background to build country homes for people and get them set up and all that sort of thing. And there’s a lot of need for that for sure. But we realized that we would only be able to help a small number of people if we did the hands-on work. And we really felt called to impact a larger number of people than we could ever build for.
So we took a page from Squanto’s book. Yes, thank you Squanto. That’s right. And we started doing seminars coast to coast and producing DVDs back in the day when DVDs were a thing and organizing large expos and online courses and all sorts of things like this to teach people the principles, to teach them how to fish rather than just giving them a fish. And you know, knowledge is power, It really is.
But we realized that folks needed more than just information. They needed someone who knows the ropes and can help them make good decisions. And you know, they needed to be able to get solid answers when they were stuck or needed help. They needed a community of like-minded folks to cheer them on when they were discouraged or give them helpful tips when they’re stuck and all that sort of thing. This is what’s coming next month.
We are really, really excited about it. For the first time ever, we’re opening the doors to the Ready Life Academy, which is going to take all the training that we’ve produced over the years and distill it down into what you need to know to take action. And it’s kind of like downloading our years of experience and the experiences of numerous other experts that we’ve worked with. And it’s also going to break down this body of knowledge into actionable steps, you know, step-by-step things that you can take. And we’ll walk through it together, and you’re going to be able to get quick answers to your questions, be surrounded with a group of like-minded folks that are on the same journey and are helping each other out.
And it’s just, we’ve been really working over what can we do to really do what Squanto did and try and empower folks to be successful at this and to have the knowledge and the support that they need to make a go of it and to not just survive, but to thrive. Yes, I am so excited. I like wanna bounce here. No, and the cool part is, is that it’s gonna be a blessing for so many people, but also it’s going to be a tremendous blessing for us as we’re working on putting this together. I’m getting excited about ways that we’re going to be able to improve our homestead too, because like he mentioned, we’re gonna go through this with you guys.
And so, yeah, giving you tips and pointers and things that we’ve learned along the way, as well as you’re gonna get to see inside what we’re doing, and we’re gonna walk with you through this whole process. So I’m super excited. It’s gonna be a blessing to all of us. But if you only get 1 thing from this episode, here’s what I want you to get from it. And it’s that our efforts are to prepare, need to extend beyond just me and mine.
Yes, we do need to get our family squared away. You know, we are total believers in that it’s essential. That’s the first step for all of this. And we need to get our oxygen masks on, so to speak. But we also need to prepare to share.
And so don’t put this sharing off into some future time when catastrophic events have occurred and all that. You know, like I mentioned, that’s something that we’ve often thought about. And yes, I think it’s a good thing that we need to be thinking about and preparing for, but I think it’s a good idea for us to look for ways even now, here and now, that we can prepare to share. I think of just a few examples that we’ve had experience with. I think of some folks that moved into our neck of the woods late in the fall.
They didn’t have hardly any firewood and we knew they were going to have a rough go of it getting a hold of firewood. And so we were able to take them a quart of firewood and you know somebody else that was not physically able to be splitting kindling and stuff like that and they were running out of kindling and we were able to just something simple like splitting a bunch of kindling and hauling it over. You know, things like this are ways that we can prepare to share with others, that we can be prepared to share. Yeah, and you know, that really makes me think too of back in the day when we were first getting ourselves set up. And I remember we were at a place in our lives where financially we were just completely strapped for money.
I know Dave Ramsey talks about eating beans and rice as kind of like a metaphor. Well we were literally eating just beans and rice and then the next day it was rice and beans. I was having to get really creative between the oatmeal and the rice and the beans. We were getting towards the end of the beans and rice. Yeah and just then someone showed up on our doorstep with a box of food and I just I remember I Cried I was blown away.
There were things in that box that we hadn’t eaten for Probably a year or more because they were just too expensive. They were out of sight, like frozen blueberries. I’ll never forget the frozen blueberries. It was like candy. We were so excited.
But that person was in the right place at the right time, and they were able to show up and share with us in our time of need. And I’m so grateful for that. Right. It’s about being sharing the blessing. We’ve all been blessed in various areas.
Another area that I can think of is just recently, we were able to get a hold of some big orchard bins of apples for a really good price. Yeah, they’re really really cheap. And food is so expensive these days and we decided you know what let’s just get an extra bin and let’s share it just because we can. And it was so awesome to be able to do that and to be prepared to share. And I think that it changes our whole outlook on life when we do that.
We’ve got another friend that he is the most incredible person about going out to yard sales and all kinds of places like this, and he sniffs out the good old hand tools and finds them, they might look awful, and then he fixes them up and makes them look really nice and functional and everything, and then he gives them away to people that need them. I mean, he’s supplied us with a number of axes and crosscut saws and all this kind of stuff, And he’s prepared to share. He’s been sharing in his niche and his areas that he’s prepared in. And so I think it’s just something that is a good principle for all of us to implement and something especially good right now during Thanksgiving when we’re giving thanks for how we’ve been so blessed to share that blessing with others and that it’s a powerful principle It really is. We’d like to dedicate this episode to my dad, Craig, who passed away on this day 1 year ago.
He was truly a squanto whose passion was to help as many folks as possible become as independent as possible and to get into a position where they were prepared to share his work lives on. Anyway, we want to say happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for joining us today. And we hope and pray that you’re inspired to prepare, to be a blessing and to share with those around you. Thank you so much.
It’s the spirit of Thanksgiving. Yep. We’ll see you next week. Bye. Happy Thanksgiving.