Good morning friends!  Today is a little bit different – no podcast, BUT a very special entry from a good friend of mine, Jessie Linn Strobel.  Jessie and I work together at Apple and she has a blog of her own at so head over and show her some love.  This post is called “Family is Family” because it’s about … family.





Everyone has a story. We all come from somewhere and there are thousands of stories, tales and legends of how we, our families, and our cultures came to be. I have always been interested in where I came from and who I am deep down inside. 


It all started back in college. I was becoming more mature and I was trying to build some bond with my grandfather. Henry died before I was even born. And I, along with my cousin Mike, are the only two out of six grandchildren who never met him. I knew he spoke Spanish and that his dad had left when he was pretty young. 


I decided to start my adventure in college (typical). I decided to major in a language, in hopes I could build a bond with someone who I never met, but feel like I have known forever. It definitely worked and to this day I still identify myself as third generation Cuban American.


But, I wanted more …


I decided to dive head first in to the world of Genealogy. It was difficult at first and trust me there are definitely of walls that I’ve run in to, but in the end I’ve learned so much. For one, definitely don’t stop when you think you’ve found it all, because well you haven’t.


(Good life lesson too don’t you think?)


Through Passport Applications, Naturalization Records and Petitions and Censuses, I’ve discovered so much, have created a bond with my late grandfather and have even uncovered the reasons why my great grandfather left his family in the states. 


Julio, my great grandfather owned a shipping company in the early 1900s. He mainly exported out of Spain (specifically a kind of grape for Wine). Then, at the worst possible moment, the ‘Mediterranean Fly’ contaminated all of them and his business was ruined. He wanted to start new business in Europe, but his wife was against it and refused to leave the United States. Julio went on to work in Cuba, on a sugar plantation where he contracted Malaria. There was no way he could go back to his family. He reached out to his sister in Morocco and went to live with her and her son Marcelino (he plays a huge part later on). He died from Malaria in Tangier, without his wife and two children. 


Flash forward almost a hundred years to me uncovering my family history on the Web, along with my cousin Mariaje who lives in Spain. I’ve never met her but we are third cousins once removed. Turns out, her father is Marcelino and my great grandfather raised him. Without the hard decisions and bad luck he faced, where would we all be? Where would I be? Where would Mariaje be and most important what would have happened to my grandfather. 



This research and this journey taught me a lot about perseverance and ‘not judging a book by it’s cover’. Family is family and we only get one shot on this beautiful planet. Make the most of it.


Assume positive intent.


Dig deeper.


And find out who you are, who you identify yourself as and most importantly your story. 


When it comes to family, assume positive intent & dig deeper - find out who you are, discover your story. @jessie_linn #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet



– Jessie Linn



Here’s some fresh wallpaper for your smartphone with a key thought from today’s entry.  Save it to your phone, set it as your background, and pass it along to someone else!



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