It was an experience of Amish proportions

In my life, I can say I’ve definitely done a lot of things I never thought I’d do. Including things I never thought about doing in the first place.

This last weekend definitely landed in the, “never thought about doing” category.

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I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Amish Country in Tennessee. Perhaps that was just me being oblivious, but I just didn’t even have any concept of it. So when a friend said she wanted to stop in Amish Country on our way back from a girls night out in Birmingham, AL, I was very, “Uhm. Okay.” I wasn’t against it. I just had no idea what to expect!

Ready for Toby Keith!

So upon re-entering Tennessee after an amazing Friday night, we exited I-65 and headed to Ethridge, TN.  We were off on an adventure. Especially considering how we realized NONE of us had ever done this before.

We stopped first at the Amish Welcome Center.

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There, we picked up a few things, including a map of where to go buy things we wanted. Now this is when everything got… different.

Basically, you get this map and follow it to houses that are selling wares. Outside of the houses are signs that show what they sell, and you just drive up and buy direct from the families.


Our goal was to find butter, and that mission sent us to probably six houses. All of them said the next house would have butter. We started to feel like we were playing some sort of scavenger hunt.

But we were struck by so many observations of the Amish. They definitely live a simpler life. Homes built simply. In some cases, the houses would probably be considered shacks. No air conditioning. And just like you see in the movies (and I can’t believe I said that) kids running around barefooted. Women in long dresses. It just felt like we went back around 200 years to the early 1800s.

And yet within it, we marveled at the efficiency of their simple machinery. We actually sat and watched a group of Amish men running a sawmill made of a series of pulleys.  Large tree trunks turning into perfect planks of wood. Another had a bull in a “trailer” being pulled by horse.


I’ll be honest. I sometimes long for simpler days. Some times I think our technology has lead to a lot of unhappiness. There is seriously something to be said for having to work a little harder for things, and maybe NOT knowing the instant something happens in other parts of the world.


It felt very strange to just drive up to a persons house, get out, and buy something. Its a totally different world. We were stepping into someones personal space, and we admittedly felt very uncomfortable.

But sometimes its good to get outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes its good to open your eyes to another way of life. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we’ve come from the days when we were ALL traveling by horse and cart, relying on the sun for light and the wind for our air conditioning.

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What I purchased!

For anyone curious, we did finally find our butter. I actually made my breakfast today using it, and it was delicious.

Will I be going back? Maybe if we happen to find ourselves in that area again. But I don’t think I’ll go back specifically just to go. It was a strange experience at the time, but looking back, its one I am glad I had.



When I was studying journalism, I can clearly remember being quite amused by how easy it was to slant a story to say pretty much whatever I wanted it to say. Fast forward to today and that slanting of a story just frustrates me, because it is so rampant in today’s media in general.

I’m proud of the fact that I have a journalism degree. But I’m often ashamed of the field these days.

I can vaguely remember in high school being told at some point that the press was often considered the fourth branch of government.  You have the judicial branch. You have the executive branch. You have the legislative branch. But you also have the press, who is there to hold the other three accountable — who is there to keep the government’s actions transparent to the American people. And while I never was interested in covering government or political issues, I still took that angle of the journalism field very seriously. I still saw that job of the press as being a very noble and important function. Frankly, I still do.

I would describe myself politically is pretty much right down the middle. A friend of mine often says she’s a little left of center. I respond that I’m a little right of center. I think that’s part of what makes us good friends, because we see eye to eye on a lot but respectfully disagree on others.

We respectfully disagree. Remember that.

Perhaps my being more middle of the road is a big part of why I like journalism. I want facts. I like to get down to the bottom of the story. I want to know the who, what, where, when, why and how. People have been known to point out that there seems to be no end to my ability to find stuff out.

I don’t much like opinions, though. They leave me bound up and stressed out. ESPECIALLY in the political world. I don’t want the right attacking the left. I don’t want the left attacking the right. I want the facts about what is happening today. I want people to realize that I’m smart enough to make my own decisions.

I have friends from both ends of the political spectrum. I have strong opinionated liberals I consider dear friends. In the exact same breath I have very strong staunch conservatives that I also consider dear friends. I don’t think either one is wrong. I think this world is big enough for both sides. I just wish we all could acknowledge that we aren’t going to agree on a lot of things. If we could just respectfully disagree.

It’s hard to wade through the slanted media articles to get to the bottom of the story these days.  So-and-so said this. So-and-so did that. He took my doll. She called me a bad name. This woman is an idiot. This guy thinks he knows it all. Between left and right, black and white, male and female, north and south, Christians and atheists… We’re so divided these days it hurts my heart. We can’t seem to respectfully disagree anymore. The stance is all too often, “If you don’t agree with me, you are against me.”

Journalism is feeding that discontent day in and day out.

Discontent sells. Discontent gets more clicks. Sometimes I feel like watching the news or reading it online is like driving down the interstate and coming up on an accident.

The accident isn’t it in your lanes. It’s not even on your side of the interstate. But traffic is going to come to a crawl, as we all turn and rubberneck, searching for someone to blame for this distress.

Searching for someone to blame for our distress. Isn’t that what we’re always doing? Meanwhile we are so busy looking at the accident on the other side of the interstate, we’ve missed the fact that we’re about to cause another accident on our side.

You can apply this same principle to our political leanings.  We’re so busy pointing fingers at the other side, we’re not looking closely at what we’re doing on our own side. We’re so busy butting heads that we don’t see what we actually agree on anymore. We no longer seem to ever respectfully disagree.

And I’ll be honest, I blame the media for a lot of this. Because discontent does sell. People often aren’t mad about something until they’re told they’re supposed to be mad about it. Maybe if people got strictly the facts. Maybe if people got both sides of a story. Maybe they’d have to make their own decisions. And, within that, maybe we’d all find ourselves a little more understanding and tolerant of each other.



Making a change

Today, my husband officially heads out with a new title.


My  husband is a musician. I don’t just mean that’s his job or what he does, it’s who he is. It’s as much a part of him as breathing. I knew this when I met him. I knew this when I said, “Of course!” when he proposed. I knew this when I said, “I do.”

I married a musician.

So when we made a decision recently, it wasn’t made without heavy thinking, soul searching, After more years than I know, and (even more importantly) specifically after six years in his last position, my husband put the keyboards in our garage and he will go drive tour bus full time.

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This decision was one that was somewhat made for us, as we pursue a new dream together of opening a bar, and as we’ve found ourselves in a deeper financial rut than we’ve faced in over five years.

My husband has been on the roster of a bus company for years, as he’s been a co-driver for the last several artists he’s worked for and most used the same bus leasing company. So upon finding himself off for a few weeks, he called the company to see if there was any driving to be done. With one phone call he went from having three weeks off to being on the road more than he’d been in a while.

Photo not by me, but I’m so glad to have it. :)

So somewhat long story short, a hard decision was made. In a way, the decision ended up being made for us, but that’s on paper. In the heart, though, the decision was a lot more complicated.

My husband is a musician, but he won’t be playing music on the road for awhile. Oh, he’ll play on the road again. This is something I feel certain will happen. But for now… for now he’ll be one of those people getting your favorite groups across the country. This job has a lot more responsibility, and we’re juggling our schedule more than ever before. But he’s good at it, and there’s a lot of work out there to do.

Screenshot_2015-07-10-02-42-29-1 We know that this is for the best, but the last few weeks have been very bittersweet. My husband has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles with is bandmates. He’s spent holidays with them. There have been times he’s spent more time with them than with me. They’re family. And we both love them all. It’s going to feel very strange for a long time to not see those guys regularly.

In the same breath, I am excited for what adventures do lie ahead, too. I’m going to be able to go even more full-speed ahead on our opening our bar. We’re going to take a vacation later this year to visit my husband’s family for the first time in almost two years. And who knows what else lies ahead. Change is scary. Change can be sad. Change can also be exciting. I’m feeling all three of these right now. Friends and family have been super supportive, and that’s helped more than I can say.

So, here we go. We’ve got this.

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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