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Great love letters endure

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Love — mysterious, forbidden, secret, new love, and old — inspired some of the greatest letters ever written, notes so grand they are still treasured today.

Longest-lasting love letter – Arguably the greatest love letter has been read for literally thousands of years: The Song of Solomon, which appears in the Old Testament of the Bible. Written in 600 BC to one of his 700 wives, King Solomon writes: “…thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes … How much better is thy love than wine!”

Tormented love – A 17th-century Portuguese nun, Mariana of Alcoforado, wrote broken-hearted letters to her lover of two years: the scoundrel Noel Bouton, Marquis de Chamilly. Proving himself a cad, Bouton published the letters, thus creating a new word in French for love letter: Portugals. One of Mariana’s lamentations: “… all my pleasure is in repeating your name a thousand times a day. Some nuns, who know the deplorable state to which you have reduced me, speak to me of you. I leave this room you visited so often as little as I may, and spend all my time gazing on your portrait, which I love a thousand times more than my own life.”

Mystery love – Scholars still debate the identity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s lover who, in 1812, he famously calls his ‘immortal (or eternal) beloved.’ It was a love not to be: “Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us.”


Presidential love – President Richard Nixon’s love for his wife Pat was well known. In the early years of their relationship, he writes to Pat, referring to himself in the third person: “…when the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves … that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee — my dearest heart.”

Comedian love – From bad-boy comedian George Carlin to his wife Sally Wade:
“Sallyburger, If you took the number of sub-atomic particles in the universe and multiplied that number times itself that many times; and then added the total number of microseconds since the beginning of time, times itself; and then added 803 — you would still have only the tiniest fraction of a billion-billionth percent of the amount of love I have for you. Love, your candle partner, the romantic Mr. Carlin, your eternal flame.”

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Pregnancy and maternity quiz: test your knowledge

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This Mother’s Day, test your knowledge about pregnancy and motherhood with this quick and easy quiz.

True or false

1. A baby’s sex is determined as soon the egg is fertilized.
2. Smoking increases the risk of having a miscarriage.
3. The chance of having identical twins is greater if there are already twins in the family.
4. The fetus’s heartbeats at the same rate as the mother’s.
5. Breastfeeding helps prevent breast cancer.

Multiple choice


6. Which of these sports should be avoided during pregnancy?

a) Horseback riding and scuba diving
b) Judo and mountaineering
c) Tennis and hot yoga
d) All the above

7. What hormone causes the uterus to contract during childbirth?

a) Estrogen
b) Progesterone
c) Oxytocin
d) Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

8. At how many weeks is a baby considered full term?
a) 33
b) 35
c) 37
d) 39

Fill in the blank

9. It’s recommended that pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive take __________ as a supplement to prevent deformities such as spina bifida.
10. __________ is the medical term for a woman in labor.
11. The __________ allows air and food to be exchanged between the mother and fetus.
12. The __________ connects the mother to the child during pregnancy.

How did you do?

Answers:
1. True
2. True
3. False (this is only true for fraternal twins)
4. False (it beats about twice as fast)
5. True
6. d)
7. c)
8. c)
9. Folic acid
10. Parturient
11. Placenta
12. Umbilical cord

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How to support nurses on the front line of the pandemic

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May is Nurses Month, an annual event that sets out to honor the contributions of America’s nurses. These essential workers are invaluable members of their communities, offering help to patients and their families, and playing a key role in delivering healthcare services. That’s why this year’s theme is Nurses Make a Difference.

In light of the pandemic, supporting nurses is more important than ever. Over the last year, these workers have risked their own safety to help those who need care. Here are some ways you can offer your encouragement.

1. Give them a shoutout
Publicly give your thanks to nurses on social media using the hashtag #Support-HealthcareHeroes. Recognition can go a long way in making the nurses you know feel valued.

2. Offer them a meal
Order takeout for the nurses you know, and see if you can have it delivered to the hospital or clinic where they work.



3. Help with childcare
If you know a nurse who has children, consider offering to lend a hand while they’re at work or when they need a break.

4. Drop off groceries
It can be hard for nurses to find time to pick up the essentials. Reach out to a nurse you know, and see if you can help by bringing them the supplies they need.

5. Make a donation
There are numerous campaigns dedicated to raising funds for nurses. Consider making a donation to the American Nurses Foundation, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses or a local nursing school.

Nurses working on the front line of the pandemic deserve to be reminded that they’re valued. This year for Nurses Month, consider reaching out and showing your appreciation.

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3 special ways to celebrate Mother’s Day

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Do you want to pull out all the stops for Mother’s Day this year? Whether your mom lives nearby or far away, here are a few ways to celebrate the occasion.

Theme party
Host an event your mom will never forget by choosing a theme. You could make the celebration a beach party, a Victorian ball, a Mexican fiesta, a casino night soirée, or a Great Gatsby-style bash. Consider your mom’s tastes and get creative. Think about the decorations, costumes, music, and other details so everyone can truly immerse themselves in the chosen universe.

Fun activity
Celebrate your mom by doing something together that you know she enjoys. It could be a walk in the forest, a visit to a museum, a day at the spa, a hot air balloon ride, or a wine tasting at a local vineyard. If Mom preferred to stay home, consider playing board games or having a movie marathon with all of her favorite snacks. Give her a unique experience, and she’s sure to be pleased by your thoughtfulness.

Video call
If you can’t get together with your mom in person, organize a video call that shows her how much you care. You could read her a letter or poem you wrote for the occasion, share a festive meal together despite the distance or play an assortment of games to brighten up her day.


So, what kind of celebration will you put together for Mother’s Day?

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Flowers for the mothers in your life

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Giving flowers on Mother’s Day is a time-honored tradition. If you’re looking to show your mom, your grandmother or the mother of your children that you care, here are some suggestions.

Cut flowers
Fresh bouquets are sure to please the ladies in your life. Offer them bundles of cut roses, gerberas, tulips, camellias, carnations, irises, lilies or birds of paradise. Select blooms in their favorite colors or fragrances, or let your florist make a custom arrangement.

Flowers for the garden
If the mother you’re celebrating has a green thumb, consider giving her a new plant for her garden. Pretty perennials like primroses and peonies or flowering shrubs like rhododendrons and lilacs are all good choices. Assess the landscaping of the yard to help you make the right choice. Alternatively, ask a professional at your local nursery for suggestions.

Flowering potted plants
There are many types of flowering plants that make great Mother’s Day gifts. You could get an African violet or orchid for her home, or a hanging basket or rose bush for her yard. Just be sure the person receiving your gift is interested in keeping the plant alive. When in doubt, look for easy-to-care-for plants like peace lilies and Christmas cacti.


Regardless of what type of flowers you buy for Mother’s Day, remember to include a card. The best part about your gift is sure to be that it came from you.

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4 Mother’s Day gifts to help Mom relax

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Mother’s Day is May 9th

Would you like to help your mom relax and unwind this Mother’s Day? If so, here are a few gift ideas that may be a good fit.

1. An overnight stay at a hotel
There’s nothing like a change of scenery, even a brief one, to take the edge off the daily grind. Depending on her tastes, opt for something sleek and polished in town or quaint and charming off the beaten track. With room service and onsite amenities, Mom will be able to indulge in a little pampering.

2. A home-delivered meal
Help your mom take a break from cooking by serving her a meal she doesn’t have to make. Order a dish she loves from her favorite restaurant or buy the ingredients to prepare it yourself. Either way, she’s sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.


3. A basket of bath products
Give your mother an excuse to bask in the bath by offering her an assortment of goods. Put together a basket filled with a bubble bath, a sponge, scented candles, a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and other treats for a relaxing experience.

4. A spa treatment and massage
This guaranteed anti-stress remedy is the perfect way to help Mom unwind. If you’re not sure which types of massages and treatments she would enjoy, opt for a gift card from a place that offers a variety of services.

From scented oil diffusers and adult coloring books to foot massagers and facial steamers, there are many other gifts that can help your mom relax. Look for these and other products and services in your region.

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April 30 is National Arbor Day

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Beautify your world: Plant a tree

Founded by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day is a secular day of observance to encourage individuals and groups to plant trees.

Trees are an energy-saving home improvement. They can be as important to energy conservation as insulation or weather-tight windows and doors. They save energy by cooling with shade in the summer and by providing a windbreak in winter. Three strategically placed shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30 percent.

Deciduous trees shed their leaves during the winter. They provide shade and block heat during hotter months. By dropping their leaves in the fall, they admit sunlight in the colder months. Place these trees on the south and west sides of buildings. Shade hard surfaces, such as driveways, to minimize heat load.



Evergreens retain their leaves or needles throughout the year. As windbreaks, they can help conserve a significant amount of energy that would otherwise go toward home heating. Place them on the north side of your home. Evergreens also provide shade in the summer.

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King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

May
19
Wed
12:00 pm Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
May
22
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
May
23
Sun
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 23 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
May
30
Sun
10:00 am Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 30 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Stroll Along the Stream: Riparian Buffer Exploration @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at Backcountry Trailhead. Explore the Gap Run’s unique ecosystem called a “riparian buffer,” the zone of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation alongside waterways. Discover the amazing ways our native plants protect water quality and[...]
Jun
5
Sat
10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park. Stop by our Explorer Outpost table along the Boston Mill Road Trail where kids[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the intersection of the Boston Mill Road and James Ball trails. Get your hands dirty as we work to improve the hiking experience on James Ball Trail. Discover how uncontrolled water erodes topsoil,[...]
11:00 am Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 11:00 am – Jun 6 @ 11:15 am
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Overnight Parking lot. Ready to try backcountry camping? Spend 24 hours in nature learning backcountry skills and survival techniques with professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch. With Sky Meadows’ Backcountry Campground as the[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
Jun
12
Sat
11:00 am VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 12 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
VA State Parks History and Culture: Water Powered Mills @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Over 50 streams and waterways crisscross Fauquier County, once powering nearly 300 mills and providing an important service to local farmers such as Abner Settle. Located in close proximity to Sky Meadows, along[...]