Once Upon a Farm: Lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier

Rory Feek

Once Upon a Farm: Lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier
Editions:Paperback: $ 10.99
ISBN: 0785221093
Pages: 256
Hardcover: $ 4.55
ISBN: 0785216723
Pages: 256
Kindle: $ 9.99
Pages: 248
Audiobook: $ 20.96

Now raising their four-year-old daughter, Indiana, alone, after Joey’s passing, Rory Feek digs deeper into the soil of his life and the unusual choices he and his wife, Joey, made together and the ones he’s making now to lead his family into the future.

When Rory Feek and his older daughters moved into a run-down farmhouse almost twenty years ago, he had no idea of the almost fairy-tale love story that was going to unfold on that small piece of Tennessee land . . . and the lessons he and his family would learn along the way.

Now two years after Joey’s passing, as Rory takes their four-year-old daughter Indiana’s hand and walks forward into an unknown future, he takes readers on his incredible journey from heartbreak to hope and, ultimately, the kind of healing that comes only through faith.

A raw and vulnerable look deeper into Rory’s heart, Once Upon a Farm is filled with powerful stories of love, life, and hope and the insights that one extraordinary, ordinary man in bib overalls has gleamed along the way.

As opposed to homesteading, this is instead a book on lifesteading as Rory learns to cultivate faith, love, and fatherhood on a small farm while doing everything, at times, but farming. With frequent stories of his and Joey’s years together, and how those guide his life today, Rory unpacks just what it means to be open to new experiences.

“This isn’t a how-to book; it’s more of a how we, or more accurately, how He, God, planted us on a few acres of land and grew something bigger than Joey or I could have ever imagined.”

Reviews:Gloria D. Holcomb on Amazon wrote:

I have been a fan of Joey and Rory Feek since I first discovered their music a few years ago. Unfortunately, it was during Joey's illness and death. After reading thus book, I am impressed with Rory' s heartfelt tales of the events of his life which have brought him to the present. I was deeply touched by his love for his daughters' varied lifestyles. I have an even greater admiration for Rory and his family after reading this book. This is a flawed human who has come to an understanding of the importance of his faith and the strong bond of unconditional love for his family.

Laura Rash on Goodreads wrote:

Very similar writing style & content to his first book. Feek manages to tell a simple and sometimes sad story of his life with Joey and some new revelations about his family currently. The simplicity of his life and ideas is inspiring as is faith.

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Joy in Difficult Times

Nancy Emerson

Joy in Difficult Times
Editions:Paperback: $ 15.00
ISBN: 0998340421
Pages: 62


From  Kacey Martin - Star-Tribune   Jun 2, 2021

DANVILLE, Va. — Philadelphia, Elvis, swinging and the beach are just a handful of the ingredients that went into Mrs. Nancy Emerson’s journal-turned-memoir, Joy in Difficult Times.

On Saturday, Emerson hosted an Author Meet-and-Greet event outside Karen’s Hallmark in the Danville Mall to promote her book. Emerson and her husband warmly greeted store customers and passers-by alike from the table displaying Joy in Difficult Times, Emerson’s moving account of seeking and finding joy in the life of her son, Steve, who lived with Down syndrome.

“It was a joy, always, with him, even though he was challenged,” Emerson said.

The book moves chronologically throughout Steve’s life, detailing the great lengths the Emersons took to help Steve grow as an individual and have fun while doing so. From working tirelessly to correct Steve’s coordination through a stimulation program in Philadelphia to studying the brain in day-long lectures, Emerson and her husband were willing to do whatever it took to give their son the best life possible. No matter the weather—literally and figuratively speaking—Steve and his parents continued to push through and to strive after joy.

While the book was completed a few years prior to COVID-19, the central message underlying Emerson’s work is particularly relevant to the pandemic, for her conviction that there is joy to be had, no matter the circumstances.

“Joy in difficult times: everybody’s had a difficult time having to deal with everything going on…[COVID-19] has really been devastating to a lot of people," Emerson said. "We’ve been blessed (we’re retired), and we know there are a lot of people hurting. So, if this [book] could help somebody, then that would be my joy.”

Even while facing the challenge of Down Syndrome, Steven Emerson lived a full life. The photographs featured in Joy in Difficult Times allow the reader a glimpse into Emerson’s journey as Steve’s mother, from running alongside him on the shores of Virginia Beach to cheering him on at the Special Olympics, where Steve enjoyed playing basketball and bowling, to greeting the congregation as they entered the doors of the church each Sunday morning.

“He would just sit there waiting patiently for people to come in. He loved church, and he loved singing. He loved music,” Emerson said.

A true jack-of-all-trades, Steve enjoyed playing the guitar and the keyboard in his home.

One of Emerson’s fondest memories of Steve involves a trip to Graceland, during which an absent Steve was discovered standing in awe before a portrait of Mr. Presley himself, unable to tear himself away from his musical hero.

“I want it to be a help to people to know that you still can smile, even if you shed tears. We laughed, we cried a lot, but we can still find those moments when we can think about things that Steve did that were funny…things that make us smile," Emerson said. "So, I’m just appreciative of all the memories that we had. Good memories.”

After Steve passed away in 2015, Emerson enrolled in Danville Community College’s creative writing course, where she enjoyed cultivating her storytelling skills despite being surrounded primarily by young adults. Over the past 54 years, Emerson had kept a journal detailing Steve’s life, so she decided to turn her journal into a book to encourage others.

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The Life We Choose: A Sibling’s Story

xA Embry Burrus

The Life We Choose
Editions:Paperback: $ 14.15
ISBN: 0998636223
Pages: 206

Growing up as the sibling of someone with Down syndrome, author Embry Burrus was never really aware of her sister Margaret's disability. While writing down childhood memories to preserve Margaret's story for future generations, Burrus gained some startling insights into her parents' lives, and most unexpectedly into her own life. With humor and candor, Burrus examines how her sister has impacted, and continues to impact, those who have been fortunate enough to get to know Margaret. According to Burrus, "Margaret's heart knows no judgment, no deceit, and no hatred. She is a beautiful, perfect example of all that is good in this world." The world could certainly benefit from more of that.

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A Family Love Story 

Ethel Magnus

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Editions:Paperback - Out of Print: $ 25.59
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You Can Call Me Ellie

Anne McCullagh Rennie

You Can Call Me Ellie
ISBN: 1741101727

This is the true story of an Australian family united in their love to overcome the myths and limiting social perceptions surrounding Down Syndrome and Ellie's determination to succeed.

'You Can Call Me Ellie' is about courage, persistence and at times downright stubborn refusal to budge as Ellie battles to prove that she is an individual with the ability to achieve beyond all expectations.

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You Always Call Me Princess

David Ted Eyre

You Always Call Me Princess
Editions:Paperback: $ 2.43
ISBN: 1599360306
Pages: 112

You Always Call Me Princess is an inspirational account of a modern-day miracle. It is a testament to the value of accepting those with disabilities and discovering their inner beauty.

This is the remarkable journey of Shellie Eyre, who, born with down syndrome, grew to adulthood and became an inspiration to all those around her.

Reviews:Amy on Goodreads wrote:

Every person, every where needs to read this book. It is a heart wrenching account of a man, a family, a school, and of a community whom have all been lucky enough to have their lives touched by an extrodianry girl Shellie, who was born with Downe Syndrome. Though she went through many trials and hardships starting from birth, she always had an optimistic outlook on life.

This book had me smiling and crying at the same time. It is written by Shellie's dad and was full of emotion only a father could protrait.

I knew Shellie from Jr High and High school and remember her smile. The things I learned by being given the chance to share a school with her will last a life time.

Mommywest on Goodreads wrote:

I remember reading the story of Shellie Eyre and her election as homecoming queen of Murray High School in 1997 back when it happened, and I've always been touched by that story. Just today I read in the Deseret News that that experience has been made into a public service announcement promoting the value of looking for true beauty. I also discovered that Shellie's dad, Ted, has written this book about his daughter. I am looking forward to reading it!

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Writing with Grace: A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome

Judy McFarlane

Writing with Grace
Editions:Paperback: $ 15.92
ISBN: 1771620250
Pages: 208

When Judy McFarlane is asked if she will help Grace, a woman with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming a famous writer, she realizes she holds deep, unacknowledged fears — that Grace will be a dull-eyed young woman who can’t read, let alone write, or that she might become agitated, even lash out. But the idea that Grace wants to be a writer, a dream McFarlane gave up when she was young, captures McFarlane. She helps Grace write her book and travels with Grace to give a copy of the book to her grandfather. Writing with Grace is the inspiring and informative story of the journey Grace and Judy have taken together. It relates the often-dark history of Down syndrome and tells a universal story of moving from a deep fear of the “other” to seeing the world through the eyes of another person. With honest introspection and keen insight, Writing with Grace delves into what it takes to face one’s own prejudice and what it means to live a full life and believe you are worthy.

Reviews: J. Kuriappilly on Amazon wrote:

Very empathic and compassionate outlook towards people with disabilities. Thought provoking and and realistic events will open your eyes and question your own self worth and how we each one can make the difference in the lives of the many who are challenged in different ways but at the same time human being just like you and me who loves to be loved and to love.

Cathryn Wellner on Goodreads wrote:

Judy McFarlane's honesty, combined with good writing, kicks this up to five stars for me. I have felt that same quandary, unsure how to keep from putting my foot in my mouth when I mean to be friendly and open. When asked to work with Grace, a young woman who aches to become a famous writer and who has Down syndrome, McFarlane faces her own demons.

The result of her decision to say yes is this wonderful book, a memoir that explores the broader issues of not only Down syndrome but also of being a society that truly embraces what everyone brings to the human rainbow. My mind feels larger for having read it.

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Wrap Your Heart Around It: A Memoir About Learning to Love the Life You Have

LynnMarie Rink

Wrap Your Heart Around It
Editions:Kindle: $ 9.99Paperback: $ 11.21
ISBN: 1618688480
Pages: 192

Grammy-nominated artist and television professional LynnMarie Rink spent her whole life running from the one thing that could save her–herself.

When TV production professional and Grammy-nominated artist LynnMarie Rink and her husband finally decided to start a family, her worst fears were realized when the doctor told them their baby would be born with Down syndrome.  With humor and untamed honesty, Wrap Your Heart Around It is a memoir revealing LynnMarie’s unique take on some heavy topics like depression, Down syndrome and co-dependency. She shares her belief that we are all special needs adults and that we all have wounds and behaviors that can either hinder or help us. LynnMarie’s strength and conviction shows the reader that they too can discover what keeps them stuck in their destructive patterns, understand why they feel they can’t get let go of fear and hurt and move forward in their own lives, how they can untangle their messes, and live in the now.

Reviews: Hanna Sturwold on Amazon wrote:

A powerful and truthful look on life. While reading, I couldn't help but connect to countless experiences that Lynn has gone through. While writing, her humble honesty shines through as she reveals her true feelings, emotions, and experiences. Because of this, readers are able to connect with her. This is the power that successful storytelling holds. It takes a strong person to be able to share her life, her imperfections, perfections, and wrong-doings and right-doings of people who have entered her life. Truly beautiful. A must read.

Becky on Goodreads wrote:

raw, truthful, and witty.

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Wonderfully Made: A Memoir Of Unexpected Joy

Sabrina Moyer

Wonderfully Made
ISBN: 1492902047
Pages: 172

The last thing I thought about when I was expecting was special needs. The last thing I accepted after my youngest was born was that he had Down syndrome. In the months that followed, the last thing I wanted to do was accept the bleak outlook that he had been so innocently born into. I rejected the medical literature that prepared me for a lifetime of endless suffering and heartache and I searched high and low for the testimonials, the happy endings, and the inspiring true stories of other parents who had been down this same road. This is a story about my journey.

Reviews:C A Stancombe on Amazon wrote:

As the younger sister of a wonderfully made person, thank you! I cannot tell you how much your memoir meant to me. We lost my sister last year at 47 1/2 years. My parents were told she wouldn't live to 2, then she wouldn't go to school, then she wouldn't graduate, then she wouldn't hold a job. She surpassed all of those "won'ts, can'ts, and couldn'ts, wouldn'ts". Just thank you so much for sharing your love and joy.

Janine on Goodreads wrote:

While the author made some good points, I didn't think this book was particularly well written. The author many times referred to her son as special needs. No child is special needs, the child is a child. It's a hot button for me...

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Windows Into Heaven – Stories Celebrating Down Syndrome

Stacy Tetschner, Michelle Tetschner

Windows Into Heaven
Editions:Paperback: $ 14.95
ISBN: 0615221238
Pages: 140

Windows Into Heaven brings the stories of 30 different families that have been blessed by having someone with Down syndrome in their lives together to celebrate their amazing experiences. These stories give the reader positive insight into what someone with an extra chromosome can bring into their life, whether that reader be a new/expecting parent of a child with Down syndrome, someone seeking additional insight into Down syndrome all that Down syndrome is, or a person that is simply looking for uplifting and inspirational stories. Though children and adults with Down syndrome have intellectual disabilities, this books highlights the endless joys and possibilities they bring to the lives they touch.

Reviews: Scott Halford on Amazon wrote:

I know an OB/GYN who gives this book to all of his patients who have a Downs baby. His stories (told in generic terms because of confidentiality!) are ones where mom and dad go from sorrow and despair to hope and acceptance; even to sheer joy - and the book is a huge ingredient of moving them to that. If you or someone you know is touched by the beauty of a Downs baby, this is the book you give. This is the window into that world that we would all be so lucky to be touched by.

Tiffany J. on Amazon wrote:

I just started reading this book today and I am already almost done. I love everything about this book. I found myself crying tears of joy. It also helped me to realize how special I am that God chose me to be Raymond’s (the son of the authors) teacher. I would definitely recommend this book for parents, teachers, siblings, friends, therapists, doctors, etc.

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