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love comes softly

Some blog posts, like chapters in our lives, I could imagine writing. But this one comes as a surprise... especially to me.

This coming week will be eight years since Joey passed away and was laid to rest in the cemetery behind our farmhouse. In some ways, it feels as if nothing’s changed since that day in 2016, but in other ways, it feels like everything has. But the truth is, it’s a little bit of both.  This year in particular, as I reflect on the beautiful story that God gave us together, and the new one that He began writing when she was gone, I’m reminded in particular of another story that both she and I read long ago, and loved.


It was about twenty years ago when Joey and I first heard about and together read the book Love Comes Softly, and some months later watched the TV movie of the same name. I remember how the story touched and inspired both of us and how often through the years we found ourselves talking about it. It’s a pioneer-days story about how in the prime of a couple’s life together, tragedy strikes, and one is left alone, grieving the other. And how in spite of what they think they want or need, love finds its way back into their life. Not in the way they experienced it before, but back into their life just the same, and they are so thankful. 


Recently I remembered that movie and watched it again, this time with Indiana, and it touched me even more. But for much different reasons. I could see how much that story has strangely become my own.  


Although I can honestly tell you that after losing Joey I wasn’t sure it was even possible (actually I was fairly sure it wasn’t), love has shown up in my life again. Although in a quieter and gentler way than I knew before, it has come just the same. 


And it’s been a wonderful thing. 

Me, Indy, and Rebecca spending Christmas this year at Joey’s mama’s house in Indiana

Me, Indy, and Rebecca spending Christmas this year at Joey’s mama’s house in Indiana

Rebecca has been in our life for the last five years, although most of that was her just across the field from me in the one-room schoolhouse, where she’s been teaching my little one and a dozen other children. And though we’ve known each other for a long while, and I’ve always thought highly of her, I never really knew her.


But in the last year or so, as we began to spend more and more time together, outside of being Indy’s school teacher and a part of our festival and farm, I was given the opportunity to learn who she really is and what she wants out of life. And I've discovered a truly wonderful, kind, generous person who is beautiful on the inside and out.


The story of how Rebecca came to work at the school was a little like a Hallmark movie in itself in some ways. She had been working the last few years at a bank in the next town over and because she had grown up living in Mexico as the child of parents who were Christian missionaries, she spoke Spanish and applied for a job at the school to help the kids learn a second language. Of course, I thought that was a wonderful idea, as did Ms Jan, who was running the school at the time. Besides being fluent in Spanish, there were other reasons that I thought Rebecca was a good fit.  


First off, as I got to know her, it became clear that although she lived in a subdivision and worked at a bank, Rebecca had the heart of a homesteader. Like a lot of other people, she was an avid Hallmark channel watcher, and a part of her probably wished she could’ve lived in another place and time. I remember at one point telling her (half-jokingly) “You can keep working at the job you have and continue watching Hallmark movies, or you can come here and be in one.” I meant it of course, only in the sense that you can come here and be part of running a one-room schoolhouse today, and be part of a life here on a working farm, in a world where jobs like that are probably pretty rare. And so, she quit working at the bank and has never looked back.  


I, of course, had no idea at the time, that I too would one day be part of the Hallmark movie she was going to be living in. 

Rebecca gathering eggs here on the farm

Rebecca gathering eggs here on the farm.

A little nervous, but excited, she came on board doing full-time Spanish immersion, assisting the two other teachers, when the one-room schoolhouse opened as a pre-school in the Fall of 2018. Of course, within days, everyone quickly realized that little kids at 3 or 4, needed less to learn how to say Uno, Dos, Tres, and more to learn how to get to the potty on time. By the end of that year, most of the Spanish had gone by the wayside and Rebecca was the lone full-time teacher at the school and has been doing that job ever since. She’s had some wonderful help from time to time but for almost five years now, she’s been pretty much shouldering the responsibility of the school all on her own. And she's not only loved it, she's learned that she's good at it. Some people go to school to learn how to be teachers, but some are just born to teach.


Although Rebecca was married before, she shared that God had never blessed her with the ability to have children. So when she applied, a part of me hoped that if she started working at the schoolhouse, perhaps in some way, these could be her children and help fill the incredible void for children of her own that has always been in her heart and life. And I think they have in many ways. She’s so good with them and loves them all and they love her.  


But here recently, I have begun to wonder if she’s here for even more reasons than those. That maybe, just maybe, the little one I have, who has never really known her Mama, might be getting the opportunity to be loved and cared for by someone who loves and cares for her Mama too.

Rebecca and Indy in Montana this past July.

And little by little, the more time Indy and I have spent with Rebecca, the more she has come to mean to us. Though it has arrived differently than I might have imagined, if I could have even imagined it at all, love has come into my life again. Not like a lightning bolt, or a clear voice from God, the way Joey seemed to come into my life. This has been more like a gentle breeze that has blown in… a whisper that can only be heard when a heart is to ready hear it. Yes, truly love has come. But for a man in his late fifties, with a wife buried in the field behind his home and a little girl who has never really known a mother, love has come in a way that is more subtle, and well... softer. 


Like a lot of people, Rebecca knew a good bit of our story before she came to work at the school, but I don’t think she ever imagined being part of it… especially part of our story in the way that she is now. I know she’s as surprised by this turn of events as I am. And although she knows that as the writer of a personal blog, my private life at times is everything, she, like me, wants to see what this new chapter might lead to if we give it a chance. 


I think Rebecca felt it before I did. But she has been very patient and respectful of the love Joey and I had, of what I felt and still feel for Joey. She never pushes, never pries, never once asks for more than today together. And that has been part of what's made me love her like I do.  

A photo of Rebecca Lamb as photographed by Rory Feek


I also think part of why Rebecca’s so patient and understanding is because she too has known great loss and grief in her own life. She cared for, and lost, both her sister and her mother to cancer. And there’s a portion of that hurt that stays with her. That she’s still overcoming, just as I am overcoming mine.  

And though at times through the years her faith wavered, she never lost it, and like me, has recently found a deeper surrender and love for Christ than she's ever known before. And to be able to share that together in this journey we're on is what's most important of all.


Rebecca came home with us this past Christmas. To Joey’s home. She’d met Joey’s family of course through the years at school events and other functions, but I’d never brought anyone ‘home’ before. And since I don’t really have a home place of my own back in Kansas where I was born, Joey’s home—the house and place where she was born and raised—is still my home. I called Joey's sisters in advance and asked if it was okay. I think they were surprised, but also excited for me, and for Indy, and for Rebecca. And although I wasn’t sure how it would go, or even more, feel to her there, strangely, it felt like she had been coming home with us for years. Like she was already a part of our family—not just mine and Indy’s - but a part of Joey’s.  

One morning a few months ago, when Rebecca and I had a moment together without Indy, I told her, for the first time, “You know I love you, Rebecca. You know that right?” And though it wasn’t much of a declaration, it was all I had to give. But just as the words left my mouth, she smiled and said “I do. Thank you for telling me though,” my tears started falling and I began sobbing almost uncontrollably. Afraid that even in saying it, I was somehow not honoring Joey’s memory. Or maybe just afraid to let go, and let love actually in. 


Now here we are, and as the eight-year mark of Joey’s passing fast approaches, I have also been remembering an afternoon on the back porch here at the farmhouse when Joey and I were sitting on the steps. It was the Fall of 2015, only a day or two after finding out that after all the surgeries and chemo and radiation, the cancer was still spreading and we had decided to come home from the hospital and just leave the future up to God and to prayer.  


That day as Joey held Indiana, who was only 18 months old, in her arms, she began crying.  Angry. I tried to comfort her and said, “It’s going to be okay… I’ll be right here with you.” She said, “I’m not crying for me, I’m upset for you. I don’t want you to be a single father again.” I almost couldn’t believe that even in her fear and pain, all she could think about was me, and Indiana and how she was going to be leaving all this work to me. 


I pulled her close and told her that, “If that happens, it’s okay honey… I’m perfect for the job. I already know how to do it.” And then as if that wasn’t already hard enough, she looked at me and said, “If I don’t make it… I want you to love again.” Now it was me who was angry. I told her, "I don’t want to hear that." But she gently held my hand and said, “I want you to. You’ll need someone. You and Indy both will.”   


I think she knew then, what it would take me years to learn. That love is bigger than time. Bigger than fear. That love doesn’t have to end, for it to begin again.  


And so it has.

Rory Feek and Rebecca Lamb with Indiana Feek walking in the back field at Hardison Mill Farm




May God bless all of You.



God bless, it has been so inspiring to follow your story.



Hello Rory this is Frances..

I am grateful about your happiness., I hope it goes far. I wanted to see if I could see if there's away if I could talk to you about singing on stage. I want to be a star like you, I feel you could help me get there. I pray you'll help me. Oh by the way I hope you got my letter with Christmas Card last year. I would like to talk to you if you have a chance. My Email is


Frances Chiles



So Happy for you Rebecca and Indy! God's Blessing on you all.♥️🙏



So beautifully said. Joey would only want the best for Indy and Rory because of you she was. I am hoping that one day soon they will get married and start a life together as a family. Blessings


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