This month Ava was excited beyond words to take a trip on her first airliner with us to San Antonio’s National AFBF conference. Marty served as a delegate and we each helped with the National YF&R discussion meet. Our trip to San Antonio was a great learning experience as a family and as Farm Bureau members. These conferences are well-worth the sacrifice of time on the farm or at home with the great learning opportunities offered.
I used to get so excited about going to Encyclomedia every year, now I come away from what I call “the farm huddle” with new ideas and passion for what I, a small town girl married into the farm, may be able to contribute. The term “life-long learner” seems to be an attached label. No matter what age we are or background we come from, we can always learn something because there’s never really a time you can say you know everything. And, to add to that, the learning experiences that impact us the most sometimes are the moments in between breakout sessions and keynote speakers. Networking and meeting people at random can sometimes be pretty special.
The last full day we were at the conference, we walked around the gigantic trade show for an hour or so. I was excited about the education booth, Ava playing on the kiosk, and Marty on his phone. As we were getting ready to leave an older cowboy with a handlebar mustache was being entertained by our Ava, who was really not doing anything special besides being herself. We struck up the usual stranger conversation about how old the kids are, where we all were from, etc. We learned about their business in Georgia, which is very busy (I never will complain about being too busy lol) growing produce both organically and conventionally.
The Stewarts are good people, dedicated to making quality products for a variety of consumers as well as educating kids in their area about agriculture. Nichelle is a go-getter, busy from sun-up to sun-down working on their farm preparing products and advertising for the business, as well as, planning and organizing farm tours and activities each week. As Marty talked to Tim and their youngest boy, Jeb, I was thankful for the adult conversation with Nichelle and to learn her ministry in her community, as well as, her Farm Bureau activities. The topic turned to Ava’s birthday, which we were celebrating on our trip early. This woman whom I just met shared that her middle girl, Cheyenne, would have just turned 18 years old that Saturday as she showed me Cheyenne’s beautiful picture on her phone. She had gone home to Heaven a couple months previous from an automobile accident. Mother to mother, you can imagine, and also respectfully see the amazing grace Nichelle has as she carries herself…faith and purpose is strong and very apparent, which is why I’m sharing this experience.
Nichelle shared more about Cheyenne’s spirit, clearly attained from both parents. She was a beautiful all American tomboy and cowgirl, the kind most boys shy away from because they are intimidated a little. She was very hard working and giving like her parents; always there to help Nichelle with the school groups, etc. The kind of person you want your kids to know and will hopefully grow the same kind of roots in faith and family. I don’t have to explain the “tough” that this situation brings because many of you, like me, have experienced losing someone too young…the charismatic teammate, friend or loved one who always brought out the best of you and anyone they came in contact with. This was Cheyenne.
Faith and purpose. These two words have stuck with me as I’ve contemplated writing about this. Questions of whether I should include this in our blog have come up many times and I just keep thinking that I would be failing the “purpose” of it all if I didn’t write it. You see, in the short months this family has had, Nichelle started a “Pay it Forward” for Cheyenne. The day we met, she said she couldn’t look at her Facebook or emails yet because the event for this Pay it Forward was set for Cheyenne’s birthday that Saturday, which was just a couple days previous. Hundreds of posts and comments were anticipated on this birthday weekend.
She shared that once the word got out about the event people from all over the United States, and even around the world, were chiming in about how they were already paying it forward in honor of Cheyenne. Another humbling example of the impact one person has. Nichelle and her family have literally pulled up their bootstraps and made it through with pure faith and purpose, empowering a community near and far to do the same. Why? My question is, why not? Why not keep our loved one’s legacies going; to celebrate and support each other in our journeys through this life? Isn’t this what we all want? For Martyand I, it is. It’s not about how much land we can attain or yields, or any of the “numbers”; it’s about sharing and building a legacy of love with those around us.
Why does this belong on our blog? Faith. I have faith that we met the Stewarts for a reason. To share Cheyenne’s Pay It Forward, which ultimately gives you, hopefully, a new perspective and appreciation. How can you pay it forward in your community…for people you know or even strangers? What could you do as a Women’s committee, or YF&R committee? Think about it, pray about it.
Honor someone you love, as the Stewarts have not only for their Cheyenne, but their two boys, their friends, family, and community near and far. Now that’s purpose.
Cheyenne Heard’s “Pay It Forward” 18th Birthday Celebration @ https://www.facebook.com/events/1389434204645165/?source=22