Family History

We had our first taste of fall this week in the northern corner of Virginia. It’s been delightful! Our overnight temperatures have been cool enough to sleep with the windows open. That’s always a welcome change from the air-conditioning that has been running non-stop since May.

This weekend we hosted family members in town from New England. We look forward to their visit each year.  We always try to think of places to show them in and around the DC area that we enjoyed seeing when we first moved to Virginia.

In past years we toured the DC monuments at night, drove to Harper’s Ferry, and visited Luray Caverns. Yesterday, we spent the morning at Arlington National Cemetery, and the afternoon at Mount Vernon, the home and final resting place of George Washington.

Visiting these two landmarks is always such an honor for us, no matter how many times we have been in the past. Mount Vernon turned out to be an educational visit for us too, since so many new features and exhibits have been added since our last tour.

Although it was a hot afternoon, there was plenty of shade along the walking paths. I particularly enjoyed strolling through the gardens, and took a few photos of the flowers before they faded for the season.

Lasting Faith

Between years of school field trips and out of town guests, I am not sure how many times I have been to Mount Vernon. But on this particular day I noticed something I have missed on other visits to George Washington’s tomb. On the wall above his sarcophagus, there is an engraving of a familiar Bible verse:

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord,
he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live;
and whoever liveth and believeth
in me shall never die. – John‬ ‭11:25-26

I couldn’t find any mention of this inscription on the Mount Vernon website. It’s placement is significant though. It was probably added to the new tomb in 1831 when George and Martha Washington and their family’s remains were transferred from the original tomb. This was the chosen scripture for our first president’s final resting place, although it was not his final home.

Family visits are always a special time. We enjoy sharing stories from the past and creating new memories to relive on future gatherings. This year was even more memorable for me because a familiar Bible verse reinforced not only a lesson in history, but also a faith connection shared with our forefathers.

The In-Between Days

We have reached that odd time between seasons. Winter is not officially over, and spring has not begun. Although the mornings are frosty-cold, there is a mildness in the air.

New Life

There is a stark contrast between a bitter January morning, and a chilly March morning. The earth is softer, and patches of green appear on the lawn. We awaken to the robins’ songs, and end our days with the spring peepers’ chorus.

Our home is caught between seasons too, most notably in the form of projects. Every sunny window is filled with plants that are almost ready for the garden. They were started from seeds in the basement nursery, then moved to the kitchen and dining room after being re-potted. Seedlings include cantaloupes, Delicata squash, zucchini, cucumbers, basil and several variety of tomatoes, all waiting to set their roots into the ground.

A Fresh Look

Meanwhile, upstairs we have been hard at work replacing our worn wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood flooring. So far we’ve only completed half of the hallway. The detail work and endless hitches along the way remind us of our century-old home in Massachusetts that we renovated from top to bottom over 30 years ago. The renovations we are doing today in Virginia remind us that our knees and backs have aged 30 years as well. 😉

We are making these updates while looking ahead to the future, when we will sell this house and embark on our retirement. And while we are not opposed to updating our next home, we hope our renovations are limited to painting and pruning.

I’ve been thinking about these “in-between” days, when we are halfway between ending one stage and beginning the next. That’s very much like my life here on earth — I am somewhat comfortable where I am, but I never feel completely at home.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”‭‭ – John‬ ‭14:1-4‬

The in-between times call for quiet patience and steadfast trust. There is so much hope in our future!

Just as surely as the buds will bloom each spring, Easter morning will return each year to remind us of the hope of the empty tomb, and the eternal home that awaits us.