You know you’re getting into small town territory when the directions get oddly specific and sound like they’re being spoken from the mouth of an ancient guy in a rocking chair on the front stoop of a leaning, rickety, wooden home on the outskirts of town.

“Oh, well, that’s easy. So, you’re gonna pass the old mill that Johnson built that became a diner back in ‘47, but then Mayville bought it and it became a church. Now it’s one of three museums in the town of one hundred eighty-three population. Anyway, where did you say you wanted to go again? Oh yes…the inn. Ok so, mile marker 44 1/2 is where you’ll want to turn. There are some big rocks there, boulders really, and you’ll see them and go left. Not sure of the street name cuz it’s changed several times, but if you hit the sandwich shop you’ve gone too far. But if you DO get to the sandwich shop, make sure you tell Josephine I said she owes me $1.00. Also, pick up some of that honey. My great granddaughter makes it from her own bees. Reminds me of a bee accident that my best friend Frank got into when we were fishing down at the lake one summer. Have you seen the lake? Tomorrow, take a drive down to the water…oh, yes, that’s right, you can’t do that because it’s frozen. But come back in the summer and I guarantee you’ll never see anything more beautiful. Wait, where did you say you’re from again?” As we let him know, he falls asleep. Yeah. That kind of place. Which we absolutely love!

We were warmly welcomed by Lynn, the owner of Standing Stones Bed Inn Breakfast. We made introductions, she showed us to our room, then asked what time we would want breakfast the next morning. We decided on 9:00 am and then she left us to settle in. We popped back into town to meet up with our host for the events in Cordon/Seeley Lake, Jenny Rohrer. She asked us to meet her at local diner/watering hole, The Hungry Bear. A warm and friendly small town joint, the Bear offered a wide variety of foods and huge portions, so we landed on a couple of “small” salads that none of us could finish! After Jenny provided us with a typed-up rundown of our schedule for the next couple days, we headed back to the Standing Stones. The night was super dark, but everything was covered with snow, so it held an eerie, but peaceful, silence all about it. Not grateful for the two flights of stairs covered with ice and snow we had to climb to bring all our things up, but pretty ok with it for the reward of a warm room with fireplace and two huge beds. As much as we adore each other, we do love us some separate sleeping every now and then! And we NEEDED it because we had a couple of crazy days coming up. After a bit of work and a chat with our boy, we were off to dreamland.

The next morning we walked to the “mess hall” building and a table setting for two awaited us, complete with coffee, jams, hot water for tea, and all the breakfast amenities. Lynn popped her head around the corner and sang out a little “Good morning!”

She continued, “Have a seat, breakfast is almost ready.”

Lynn had chosen CCR’s Greatest Hits for the morning’s soundtrack and we were just thrilled.

“Steel cut oatmeal, hobo bread, bacon, and some orange slices. Hope that’s all ok.”, she called from the kitchen.

Seeing as how I expected some small cereal box options or maybe an old, mealy Red Delicious apple, akin to most continental breakfasts we’ve encountered even at the nicest of hotels, we were more than “ok with it”; we were elated. And rightly so because it was the BEST oatmeal I’ve ever had…besides my sweet husband’s, who makes it from scratch every so often for a special treat. Anyway, I could spend all day talking about this little gem of a place, tucked back into the corner of a tiny Montana town, hidden behind some boulders, but we had work to do, so I’ll get to it!!

Our first show in town was at the Swan Valley Community Center, a log cabin-esque building right on Main Street (which the town boasts to be at least ten miles long…a point of pride, as that is longer than the “bigger” town’s Main Streets). Our sponsors and host, Jenny, were all there to welcome us and help load in gear and get the stage ready. They began setting up chairs. 30… then 45… 55… “Still not enough.” Jenny says. I’m thinking, “Are there even 55 people in this town?!?” All told, 80 chairs were set up, and 80+ chairs were filled!!! This was a hot and wonderful crowd inside a cold little Montana cabin and we were HERE for it!!

Me successfully capturing us and the audience in our sing-a-long at the end chorus of “Naked”!

Check out the deer in the back with a red top hat on its antlers!!!

What a great night and a huge bar was set for the rest of the shows for this tour. Honestly met so many incredible humans. A couple stories from that night’s “testimonies of love”…


  1. I was signing some posters for a couple high school girls who came to the show. I asked how to spell their names. One at a time they answered. The second one began to cry when I asked her. I immediately jumped up and asked if I could hug her. While I was hugging her she cried even harder. “No one ever asks how I spell my name. They just assume they know it and I’m never confident enough to correct them. I told her she MUST be! Never be afraid to speak on exactly who you are. She hugged me back so tight and said she loved me. I told her she was “That Girl”.
  2. A seventy-three-year-old woman told me  she did just what I spoke of in “Don’t Wait”. She left everything she knew ten years prior and began traveling the whole country, She said it was wildly freeing, and she ended up in Seeley Lake and fell in love with the town and stayed. She regrets nothing.
  3. A woman grabbed my hands with tears in her eyes and said, “I love you. You inspired me to get a tattoo of my little puppy, Poppy, right HERE on my arm, and I don’t care WHO sees or disapproves. I like it and that’s all that matters.”

Several more amazing stories, words of encouragement, hugs, tears and overall “wow” from our new fans. Such an amazing opportunity that this tour has provided us. There’s no way we’d have found these venues or these people.otherwise.

The next day was the “outreach portion of our stay in the Condon/Seeley Lake area. We got to perform for high school students at Seeley Swan High School in their gym/auditorium. I love the challenge this age group provides. You can still get through with message, but you can’t force it, and you certainly don’t want to baby them. Also, being fully transparent is KEY. Every eye-roll is a sign of interest if you counter it carefully. All the folded arms and hoodies pulled in tight are all just signs of insecurity, acute self awareness, the inner battle of child verses adult, struggling for control over the ever-changing body they inhabit. I respect all that. And we let them know almost immediately that what they are going through is not easy, and we have a ton of respect for them.

I got off the stage that day and walked right up to those young adults and took their hands and spoke true love into them. I made them giggle, blush, high-five, shake their heads, and all the other wonderful physical signs that say, “I’m feeling seen and it’s weird. But thank you…” It’s not an easy age to break through to. But if we can get these beautiful humans to really understand the true power of love, compassion, humbleness, and brotherhood, than our work will be in much better hands as they begin to take it over.

I got a lot of hugs and fist bumps, “You’re cool, ma’am’s” (even though that made me feel a hundred years old…) and so much love from the teachers and parents who came to check out the “colorful” band from Tacoma. So absolutely inspiring.

Our darling new fans, Ace and Sera!

Between our gigs, our hosts from Alpine Artisans Arts council, took us to lunch at a local favorite, Pops!

After lunch, we headed to the Potomac Elementary School for the next show!

So, one of my biggest regrets is not having a photographer on call for every show we do. But, that would mean another person to pay/feed/house/tolerate, so, alas, there are times we just don’t get the shots of the shows we need, want, or that aren’t blurry. All that to say, even if I had a photographer AND videographer on staff for our show with the elementary kids of the Potomac school district, we would NEVER have been able to capture all the joy that flooded their gymnasium that afternoon. I’m certain that working with these precious angels is lengthening our life several years. They are so full of energy and inquisitive as all heck. They engage in the show and never are judgmental or rude. They just soak up every word, note, lesson, and , oh my gosh…the LAUGHTER…come on! It’s just the best. Speaking of laughter, I will relay my favorite comment from the QnA we did at the end of the show.

I had almost exhausted my time with the kids after getting them all riled up with dancing, clapping, singing, questions, and comments. So many good thoughts were shared, from interest in Jared’s effects, to wondering about our mysterious son we talked so much about. I knew the teachers needed to ready them for end of day so I could only take a few more questions. One giant-eyed, straight sandy haired, rag tag boy sheepishly raised his hand.

“Yes. You, young man. What’s your question?”

“Um…I sing too.”

“You do? That’s awesome! What do you sing?”

“Um…I make up songs.”, shiftily looking side to side at his teachers and mates.

At this point, everyone is quiet; the kiddos because they were trying to be respectful, the teachers because they were now invested in what the little guy would say.

“Ok! That’s even cooler. What kind of songs do you make up?”, I prodded.

Again, eyes darting left and right, hunching ever so slightly over, as to make himself smaller somehow, he looks at his teacher but directs his response to me.

“I use toilet words.”, he confesses.

The whole place just bursts out laughing.

“Me too buddy, me too.”

Never have I met such a kindred spirit.🤣

(Jared here: Seriously. You have no idea.)

Anyway, back to the photographer dilemma. No pictures of the kids or us that I have to share. But the day was unreal, so I had to capture a few scenic shots while we actually had good weather.

The elements have NOT been good to our poor trailer…

Our time in this area is done for now and we are off to Fort Benton, MT. We will, however, be back at the beginning of next week for a couple more outreach shows before we head home! Really looking forward to it!!!

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