Reflecting on Heritage….

A Child's View of Fauquier by Michael WebertIt’s bitterly cold and damp, one of those days where curling up by the fire seems in order. After a soaking rain, we have had a brief glimpse of the sun before the next wave of storms rolls in. So I was drawn to this photo of our beautiful county side by my friend Michael. We are blessed to live in the rolling hills of Virginia, in a county where 70% of the land remains in conservation or agricultural use. Michael took this picture from the second floor of his grandmother’s farmhouse, looking out over the farm that has been in the family for three generations. His family’s roots run deep in this land, roots that understand we are simply stewards of the bounty of God’s creation. When families farm the land across generations, there is no room for quick fixes at the expense of future gains. These fields and the work ethic they instill are the heritage of the next generation, and the generation after that. Some of us may remain to farm or raise cattle, while others often wander far from the farm. We leave to attend college, seek employment far from home, serve in the military or foreign service. Yet when we see with the eyes of our hearts, we are never far from the land of our fathers and mothers. We are drawn back again and again, sometimes physically, sometimes in our souls alone. We feel the simplicity and perseverance of our ancestors. We cling to the steadfast love and confidence of those who have gone before us. And some of us return to our roots this time of year, return to the same bed we slept in as children, return to the bounty and beauty of the view outside that bedroom window. Make time today to honor the past as you seek to build a better future. Take inventory of what matters most to you, of the values you hold dear. Consider how you spend your time and energy, seeking to align your efforts with your heart’s greatest desires. And always remember when we are battered by life’s storms, we do not reach for the stars alone. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, photo entitled ‘A Child’s View of Fauquier’ by Michael Webert ©2012

Reflecting on Military Service….

Four years ago my daughter’s middle school class offered a touching and memorable ceremony to honor our veterans. We live near Washington, DC, so many active duty military were present. A letter was sent home asking if family members would like to be included in the ceremony. That day I did not ask to be remembered, although I served 11 years on active duty and another 6 in the reserves. Instead, I asked my father to be remembered for his time in the Navy during World War II. My father’s health was declining and he had limited energy on the best of days. Yet he chose to stand through most of the ceremony, to honor the children who chose to honor him. The band played patriotic songs and a medley of service marches spurred a friendly rivalry. Then a number of students took the stage one by one. Each student briefly offered their particular hope or dream, to become a doctor, or a fire fighter, or ballet dancer. Then they thanked the veterans for giving them the chance to live out their dreams. My father had admired a number of quilts that lined the walls, each block made by the students to reflect an American value. Much to his surprise, he went home with one of those quilts, deeply touched by the personal nature of this tribute. We did not know it at the time, but that was Dad’s last Veteran’s Day. Take time today to thank a veteran for serving our country, for wounds seen and unseen. Consider the impact of their service and sacrifices on your life, each and every day. And remember to pass on the stories of those who have gone before us, for we stand on the shoulder of giants. Photo by David Buckwalter © 2011

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