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{Heart Touchers} *Picking Rocks* 10/4/01


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Michael's long awaited book Straight From the Heart:
"A Celebration of Life," is finally here! Close to 200
pages of true short stories filled with love and laughter
await you! Visit our web site to order the EBook, or
to order by credit card! You can also read some
sample stories from the book here!

Picking Rocks

By Al Batt

The family was cleaning out his desk. A heart attack
had taken him from them suddenly. The desk was
full of partially finished projects, new proposals,
business cards-the usual sort of stuff you would
find in a desk of a man in his position. All those
things and a rock. Not a small rock. A rock with
some size to it. It took up most of a large drawer.
His wife, although surprised to see it, knew exactly
what it was. It was a rock picked from a field on
their farm. The farm they lived on and operated
when they were first married. The farm they sold
when the children were young and the work became
too much and the money became too little. Her
husband had gotten a little more schooling and
found a job in the city. Together they bought a
beautiful home and did not do without the niceties
of living. His hard work brought promotions and a
good income. Most days came with a crisis or two,
but life was good. The children graduated, married
and began families of their own. It all went so fast.

She looked at the rock. She remembered picking
rocks alongside her husband. It was the day he
was trying to teach her how to drive that old tractor,
the WC Allis Chalmers, more than 10 feet without
killing the engine. Picking rocks was not for sissies.
It was hard work under a blazing hot sun, but it didn't
matter. They were young, very much in love and so
excited about their future on the farm. They had so
many plans.

She looked at the rock and though she thought she
had no more tears to shed, she cried. She
wanted to go back. She wanted them to go
back. She realized now that that had been
living -- something he must have never forgotten.

The rest of the family began to carry boxes
filled with his possessions to the car while
his wife sat in his office and held that rock.
She sat for a long time. In that rock she
could see herself and her husband as young
newlyweds and wondered why life had chosen
this course for them.

Is there anyone who doesn't know an ex-farmer?
They are everywhere. It is tough to make a living
with 160 acres and small equipment. Farms are
getting bigger and bigger. Is that a good thing or
a bad thing? Opinions differ. A small farmer has
a bad year, followed by another bad year with
prospects for more of the same. Farming can
be a happy life, but happiness can't buy money.
Maybe with our government so far in debt, money
won't be around much longer anyway?

Farming offers its share of peace, independence,
solitude and of course, stress, every job's partner.
Farmers talk about having to "get a job" in order
to make ends meet. It is not a happy time when
the decision is made that another job is required
in order to support a farming habit. This is more
than a mere complication in one's life. Working in
town can lead to a complete change of occupation.
Work ethic, innocence and honor all grow well from
the soil. Good families have been the true bumper
crops produced by the farms of this country. I hope
we never reach the point where we find these things
to no longer be a necessity in our lives.

It is a shame that we cannot all do what we want
to do in life. Call me a romantic, my wife will
disagree with you. We compromise. We don't
farm, we garden. We can't help it, we were
brought up that way. I remember when I was
a small boy helping my father milk the cows.
"Farms are nice, Dad," I said. "But they sure
don't have much of what you can find in the city."

Dad's reply was, "Thank God!"

Al Batt

Write Al and let him know what you thought of his story!


Al Batt picks rocks on a farm near Hartland,
Minnesota. Besides being a husband to Gail,
father and grandfather; Al is a newspaper
columnist, a radio and TV personality, a
storyteller, a tour leader and an avid birder.

Al Batt
RR1 Box 56A
Hartland, M 56042


Reader Feedback!

Dear Michael,
I have enjoyed your e-mails for a few months now and I wanted to tell you what a blessing they have been!!!! Especially on my little mail machine. My devotion yesterday was from James 5 about being patient. Farmers certainly know how to do this!! God is so good even through all our heartaches and tears. (I have had so many) The Hope of Christ's coming keeps me going. When German pastor and theologian Helmut Thiellicke was asked what he will say to Jesus at His return, he replied, "I knew You meant it". Keep looking up!! PS. 147:3, 14. May God bless and keep our great nation America in His Precious hands.
Thank you kindly,

Thought For The Day:

"In taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy;
but in passing it over, he is superior." --Thomas Fuller

Verse for the Day:

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful
to do what is right in the eyes of everybody."
--Romans 12:17

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"As soon as you tell a secret, it's not one."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"Parents are the bones on which children
cut their teeth." -- Peter Ustinov

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."
--Vince Lombardi

Deep Thought For The Day:

During the Middle Ages, probably one of the
biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor
because you were "just going down to the corner."
--Jack Handy



Hey Michael,

I wondered if you could put Hunter on your list of prayer requests. He will
be going in for surgery for an umbilical hernia on Thursday, Oct. 4th. The
surgeon says it's no big deal, but I would still like to have as many people
praying as possible. I would also appreciate it if everyone would keep me
their prayers, also, as I know I will be a wreck waiting for my baby to come
out of the operating room! Thanks so much!

Trisha LaCoste

\_\ /
/_/ \ "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no
\_\/\ \ longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I
\_\/ live in the body I live for the Son of God, who
loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

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and paste the stories to be used elsewhere unless
you have contacted and been given permission by
the individual writer. Thank you so much for
honoring the rights of those writers who graciously
share their stories with us!


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

"I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch
the video we gave them. They loved it, to say the
least! Within thirty seconds my mom was crying
and my dad did too. They said it was the best
Christmas gift we could have given them!! You
did such a beautiful job! They were so surprised
and so touched--they really, really, really loved it.
Thanks for helping to make it so special to us all.
My mom mentioned how the songs were perfect
for the video too! Thanks again!"
Kelli-- College Station, TX

Let me make you a video from your pictures or
home movies! Check out the web page for Michael's
video production business! Visit:

AOL Users click here: Video Imagery

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