Lloyd and Lois Martin
A Thanksgiving blog post… Should we talk about how to make the perfect turkey? Or about the history of the first Thanksgiving?
Should we discuss how long you should stay at the family dinner before heading out to the pre-Black Friday sales? Or about Thanksgiving parades or ball games?
All those things are common parts of the holiday, but personally, I just love that we have a day set aside to simply “be thankful.” No matter what is going on in our lives, we all have things to be thankful for—family, friends, health, work, clothes, shelter, food, etc.—and if we take the time to look around us, to ponder our lives (past, present, and future) and what we’ve experienced and learned, we can really appreciate the journey that we’re on and help others to enjoy the journey as well.
I try to live each day in a state of thankfulness, and so I thought that today, in honor of Thanksgiving week, I’d take a few moments to share with you some of the things that I’m most thankful for—things I’ve learned from my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents.
Hopefully, as you read, you’ll learn more about our family and our company…why and how we do the things we do…and perhaps even start to think about some things you are thankful for. (Feel free to share those things you’re thankful for in the “comments” section. I look forward to reading them!)
Lessons From My Great-Grandparents
Great-grandpa and great-grandma in the front row and my grandma, Lois Martin in the back middle row
I’m blessed to have known my great-grandparents, Laban and Ruth Wenger. I wish I could’ve known them longer, but nevertheless, I learned many important things from them. Here are just a few…
One: Sometimes you have to tolerate and even overlook things that annoy or bother you and just love people…because “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). I’m sure that when my three siblings and I showed up at my great-grandparents’ house, we were a major disruption to their peace and quiet. After all, they were quite advanced in years by the time we came along and their day-to-day life no longer included the level of noise and energy that surrounded my siblings and me. Yet, no matter how loud and rambunctious we great-grandkids were, they always made us feel welcome, treasured, and loved in their house.
Two: Great-Grandpa always had a Bible sitting beside his easy chair, and when he prayed, he really prayed. He talked to God Almighty with such reverence and worship that I knew he had a true and deep faith. He worked hard, and he prayed hard, and we knew he was someone we could trust and respect. Plus, he would always get us ice cream when we visited, so we thought that was pretty great too. J
Three: Without using words, my great-grandparents taught us that hard work has value, self-pity is a waste of time, and it’s ok to experiment and try something new. Hmm, perhaps that seems like a lot to cover under one point, but stick with me, if you would. You’ll see why they all go together.
Many people have heard me talk about how my great-grandparents were struggling financially in the early 1930s and how my great-grandma found work as a cleaning lady for a wealthy family. She could’ve gotten stuck in the self-pitying attitude of “Why do they have all this fancy stuff and we don’t?”, but instead, she was determined to learn! She thought, “What do these people do that’s different from what we do?” and “How can we learn from them?”
She ended up learning a lot about finances from that family—how to save money, what not to spend money on, etc.—and she also learned from their chef. She learned how to make cloverleaf potato rolls! Then she remembered that her great-aunt had a recipe for potato rolls, and she got the idea to combine the two recipes, and…voila! An amazing and unique potato roll recipe was born! That recipe became the foundation of their future bakery…and it was the beginning of our family’s baking business… All because she was determined to work hard, to listen and learn, to apply what she’d learned, and then to believe in her own talent and ability to create something new.
Lessons From My Grandparents and Parents
L to R: Lois Martin, Jim Martin, Lloyd Martin, Donna Martin
This blog post could easily become entirely too long if I’m not careful, so let me just share a few more simple life lessons from my grandparents and my parents that I’m thankful for…
Lloyd Martin, my grandpa once told me, “You spend most of your life sleeping and working, so you’d better figure out how to enjoy your work or you’ll have a miserable life.” That made sense to me. Whether you’re cleaning toilets or presiding over the highest court in the land, whether you’re making mud pies with preschoolers or designing elaborate skyscrapers…your attitude can make all the difference. Grandpa is the one who put “It’s the fun bakery!” on our packaging and he really set the tone for us to enjoy what we do at Martin’s.
My grandma loved to learn…and she loved to share what she’d learned with others. When I was little, she taught me how to crochet a blanket, how to recognize the sound of a chickadee, how to dig for earthworms, how to count to ten in Spanish, and how to score big in Scrabble…among many other things. She never attended college (because they couldn’t afford it), yet she was one of the most well-educated people I know…because she had a thirst for knowledge and a determination to learn more and try new things. When she passed away, I found many books, scrapbooks, and cookbooks about baking and selling pastries, with many hand-written notes in them, and it was evident that from the very beginning of our company, she was both a learner (taking in as much as she could from others) and an innovator (experimenting and trying to make things better), and that’s how we strive to run the business today as well…always learning, always striving for excellence.
From My Dad:
My father is the most amazing man I know and I’m so thankful and blessed to be his daughter! He’s taught me so much, by word and by example. He once told me, “If you focus on taking care of others and helping them get what they need, you will always be taken care of.” It’s in helping others that we truly find fulfillment. And it’s because of my dad’s generous heart (and his belief that God wants us to care for others) that our company supports several hundred different charities: homeless shelters, food banks, after-school programs, multi-cultural scholarships, and disaster relief, for example.
Dad starts each day with studying the Bible and going for a walk or jog. He says it’s important to exercise mind, spirit, and body, and the wisdom he’s gained from studying the Scriptures has been an important source of guidance for our company and for our family.
Another thing that Dad taught me is something super simple, yet very meaningful and impactful… Whenever your loved one walks in the door, always take a moment to smile and look happy to see them. It only takes a moment to remind someone that they are important to you, and simply making an effort to show them that they are valuable to you and that you’re happy to see them can be really powerful!
From My Mom:
My mom would do anything for her family. Her favorite saying is, “Make the most of the moment,” and she certainly does this! She has taught me (by word and by example) that family is important and is worth sacrificing for…and that laughter, forgiveness, humility, and faith in God are what hold a family together. When I was growing up, I was a real Daddy’s girl, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve truly learned to appreciate my mom’s gifts and abilities as well. She will stop whatever she is doing anytime her children or grandchildren need her or want to spend time with her. A talented musician, with an energy and passion for life that keeps her young and vibrant, she is the glue that holds our family together…and I am so thankful for her!
Your Turn—Let’s Be Thankful Together
I am so grateful and thankful for my family and for how much they’ve taught me about hard work and love for God, family, and community. I’m thankful for all my coworkers…the people who work alongside my family as part of the larger Martin’s family company. And I’m thankful for all our customers who enjoy the products we make! Thanks for your support!
God bless each of you and your families this Thanksgiving!
We’d love to hear what you’re thankful for in the comments section!
Martin’s social media manager and 3rd generation Martin family member
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