a hattie wake up call

Hattie wakes up at 6:20 each day like a set alarm. Only instead of beeping or playing music, she gently nuzzles her head to push open our door that is held closed by a pillow in front of it. She used to announce her arrival by saying, "Knocka Knocka!" But that has changed. Now I first I hear her in the hallway, playing with something or quietly talking. And then I see our door begin to slowly open, and the pillow pushed along the way. She is on all fours and her head comes slowly in to look around. She is so quiet and slow and sneaky at this point, getting her body in the door and then quietly moving the pillow back and closing the door to a crack.

I'm not sure why she is so quiet coming in, because moments later she pops up in my face like a coo coo clock and says full volume, "Mom! It thirty o'clock yet?!! It thirty o'clock?!!" And I tell her, "No. Hattie is not seven o'clock yet. You may not come in our bed yet. You can lay quietly on the floor until it is seven o'clock." And so she lays down with her head on the same pillow that holds our door closed and sings and talks and basically we know our day is now beginning. Rory usually gives up the fight first and when he gets out of bed, then Hattie crawls into his side. She looks at me intently, and it's hard not to be amused at the whole situation...her bright eyes, wide awake, ready for the day.

***

My other Hattie story lately is her response to our house when it gets too noisy. She will begin to yell as loud as she can, "INSIDE VOICES! MIA SAYS INSIDE VOICES!" Mia is her favorite friend and nursery worker at church and apparently this is where she learned this phrase. Though she doesn't seem to have learned how to apply it to her own volume yet...

But I still consider it a nice step in the right direction.

a little slice of time

I know I wrote about most of this already, but my sister and mom just returned from two weeks in Tanzania and my sister just replied to this email I sent to her last week. I re-read it and thought, "I have to save that somehow as a little slice of time..."

Hello Singing Ladies!
Oh I wonder where you are when you read this! Can you get emails on your phones? Or do you go to an internet cafe? I bet it is so different from 10 years ago...

I'm writing mostly to tell you I'm exhausted. Ha! Seriously, so tired. Rory cut the field yesterday and I got out all of the newborn stuff. I found the carseat and got out the outfits and baby toys. The kids played all day with the baby toys, and then at the end of the day I got rid of half of them. We had friends over for supper last night and fell into bed. And then today the interns came and I brought them to a farm in Faribault where we know the family, just to see another small-scale family farm in operation. The mom milked the goat for us and they have pigs and a donkey, ducks and chickens. They are very similar to us and it was a joy to see how their family operates their own farm. Then we came home and butchered 17 chickens in the back yard.

You would be proud...I cut heads off. I gutted the birds. I held them by the feet and dunked them in the water. I defeathered. It was seriously an experience, and in the end, not too bad. But I had to leave before the last bird was done and go to my Spinning lesson with Eleanor at Northfield Yarn. The lesson was 2 hours and I WAS TERRIBLE AT IT. Cannot emphasis that enough. I positively could not get it! It was hilarious. We had a great time together and the lesson was a joy, and a humbling. So crazy how something can looks so very simple and then be so super foreign.

I came home and found Tony and Alden picking blueberries, Lena and Elsie picking raspberries and I threw a pizza in the oven, cleaned my sty kitchen and we ate our pizza while watching Little House on the Prairie. Anyway, it was a good day and I'm heading to bed after this. But farm life is FULL right now and we still have many showing up this week to pick up their chickens, the rest of the kittens, friends for dinner and baling the field.

But! If everything goes well, Rory and I are taking off on Friday morning for an overnight babymoon. Lena is going to watch the kids here and I think we'll head to Lake City or someplace over there and nap for two days.

I hope you guys are well. Can't wait to hear all about it.
Love,
Becca

hurry up and rest!

Sunday morning I had a heart to heart with Elsie. I asked her if she would like to come to see the baby born when it is time at the hospital. I told her that it is a very special invitation and not many get to see a birth, but she would be the very first to know if it is a brother or a sister and that Dad and I would love to have her there if she wanted to be.

She was quiet for a moment and then asked, "will the baby be slimey?"

I replied honestly, "Yes."

And she replied quickly, "Then, no."

***

I was upstairs and flushed the toilet with the door open. Alden came running from the nursery, "I say goodbye! I say goodbye!" He got to the toilet just in time to wave and tell everything, "good bye!"

***

Tuesday we butchered 17 chickens in our backyard. This was a brand new life experience and I have many thoughts on the whole process. I actually really appreciated the whole thing. I thought it was probably right that I learn how to de-feather a chicken. I have ancestors who would likely be a bit puzzled that I made it to age 38 before knowing how the whole thing works. But maybe the best part for me was watching Hattie walk all around the yard, watching the entire process from start to finish and telling me, "oh. we eat them? okay." and with so little concern or upset. It was a wonder to me. This process is going to be completely normal to her.

***

This week we baled the field from start to finish again. This is our second successful round of cutting, raking and baling and it feels so good. We got over 100 small bales from our field and we are thrilled. The forecast had rain coming our way, so we worked with a mission today and feel so good having the baler and the bales all tucked in and cozy in the barn.

***

And now it is time to rest! We have 2 1/2 weeks until baby is due. I am hopeful the baby stays put the full 40 weeks, because we haven't rested yet! I keep thinking, "Hurry up and Rest!" So that's the goal. I got a few Wendell Berry books from the library tonight and plan on reading and sitting a lot in the next two weeks. On Monday I got the baby car seat out of the attic, along with the baby toys and baby outfits. We are ready in all the practical ways. But it sure would be nice to sit still for a minute before the next chapter begins.

Only time will tell...

tiffany's funeral

I think one of the greatest earthly gifts we are given as Christians is the hope we have in eternal life as we celebrate at another Jesus-follower's funeral. I can think of many funerals that served not just as a time to grieve a great loss, but also as a motivating encouragement, a time to remember my own calling, my own mortality, and the whole point of why we are running this short race.

Tiffany's funeral was exceptional. There were 1700 people there and the service lasted 2 full hours. Her parents both spoke, as well as her two sisters, her brother-in-laws, her children and her husband. And every single one of them deserved the microphone. They each added something powerful to the life story of Tiffany and though there were so many tears, there was way more hope in the resurrection. I left feeling filled up and grateful.

I know you would likely never watch a stranger's funeral, but if there ever was one to put on and play in the background, I think you'd be drawn in. Every person has something worth listening to. Her husband speaks at about minute 55, and the words he speaks to his kids are so powerful. And the pastor who closed the service was really powerful too. And the music is great. If you're interested at all, you can watch the service here.

And they showed this video in the service too. How incredible.
2018 Thrive Conference - Story Video: Tiffany from MDC.AG on Vimeo.

this is a hard teaching. who can accept it?

On Sunday night our family read part of John chapter 6. Jesus is telling his followers that he is the living bread that came down from heaven. "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." He continues to tell of eating his body and drinking his blood, explaining communion for the first time. When he is done many of his disciples say, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

Jesus hears the grumbling and calls them out, "does this offend you?" And in that moment, many of his followers turned away. He turned to the twelve and asked if any of them wanted to leave too.

And Simon Peter answers, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

***

About the time that we were reading this passage, our friend Tiffany was taking her last earthly breath.

Her death feels like such a mighty blow. She is my age, mother of five, partner in everything with her husband and spent her last eight years planting a church, building community and leading many wandering hearts to the Lord.

But her life was not spared.

This is a hard, hard teaching. Who can accept it?

The reading from John 6 has been such a comfort to me these past few days. Because I appreciate Simon Peter's response so much. In the midst of confusion and not understanding, trying to make sense of something that utterly did not make any sense he says the most honest words, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

I've seen too much. I know too much. I've heard too much. I've experienced too much. I believe in Jesus with my whole heart and have seen his power transform hearts and lives. To whom shall I go? I know the one who is the way to eternal life.

My heart is so heavy and grieved. Those kids. Her husband. She wanted to be raising her kids today. She wanted to be cleaning up breakfast right now. I have been convicted many time this past week not to take a moment for granted. Tiffany herself used to say frequently from up front, "If you have breath in your lungs and a pulse on your wrist, you have been given a gift today." And then she'd go on to tell of The One who gave that good gift.

The other thought I continue to have is that Tiffany, herself, would at this moment testify that Jesus is more real to her right now than ever before. She would nod and say, "Amen" to those words, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

And now with full trust in God to be the comforter, we pray for Jeff, her husband, Bo, Finn, Sally, Noah and Jack. Ages 4-14. What a grievous loss.