The Girl Who Lived 80 Years In 27

On Tuesday I lost my friend.


Amy gave the North Iowa bloggers jars of her homemade tomato sauce seasoned with habanero peppers. She loved to can and bought cases of tomatoes at auctions. She was going to show me how to can.

We lost our friend. As my friend Donna Hup stated, “Even though she was only 27, she lived life more than some 80-year-olds.”

Amy Tree farm

Showing off our finished wreaths at Carlson Tree Farm in Hampton, IA

Amy of Modern Rural Living died in a car crash Tuesday morning. Many of us had just seen her hours ago at a meeting. I’ve read all of the news articles about the crash and her obituary, but I still find myself wondering if it’s really true.

My heart feels like it’s breaking and wrenching. I think of Amy’s fiance and parents of whom she talked about all of the time. She loved them and told us often. I connected with how Amy loved her pup as fiercely as I love my own. Earlier this month, I met Patches for the first time. He growled at me but let me give him a snuggle anyway and we laughed and laughed.


Three dog/cat moms posing with a sign we found at Heart N Home in Webster City, Iowa

Amy was not only a good friend to me, but the other North Iowa bloggers. We had so many fantastic adventures during the past two years. She was always up for exploring a new place or embarking on a road trip.


Enjoying lunch at the LadyBug Cafe in Clear Lake, IA in celebration of Sara’s birthday.

It is an honor and privilege to have shared some of my favorite and happiest moments with Amy during our time in Iowa.

North Iowa bloggers ag showcase

Our table at the Ag showcase in Hampton this past winter.

I had no doubt that Amy’s blog would take her places. She had a fire for blogging and genuinely loved the process of intermingling storytelling with visual arts. Plus, she was damn good at it. She designed the North Iowa Bloggers website and many of us hired her to create our logos. There are a lot of blogs in my blog feed, but I always clicked on her new posts first.

Barrel gals

Amy, Beth & I dined at the Barrel Drive-In in Clear Lake this month to celebrate its remodel and early reopening. Amy’s the only person I know with a selfie stick.

People looked to Amy for advice regarding their blogs and websites and she always took the time to answer their questions or find the answers. She treated everyone with compassion and respect and made me want to be a kinder person. When people remember Amy, they mention her bright smile and enthusiasm right away. This is all true. She was delightfully silly and put people at ease. It didn’t take long to feel close to Amy.

New Bo

Iowa Food & Lifestyle Bloggers pose for a photo before going home at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids January 25th, 2015.

On the way to Cedar Rapids, we hit a raccoon that scrambled onto the highway. She comforted me by explaining that it probably had rabies since it was running around during daylight. Later that afternoon, I remember how we were busy taking photos of the vendors we chose for lunch at NewBo City Market. The owner at Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill caught Amy snapping a photo and asked in surprise, “Why are you taking photos?” She replied “Because your food rocks and I want people to know!” Of course, this put a huge smile on the owner’s face and they chatted for quite a while.


Making “Pumpkin Pie in a Bag” at Enchanted Acres in Sheffield, Iowa.

Another favorite memory is when six of us bloggers spent the day in Webster City. We walked into the grand entrance of the library and Amy gleefully exclaimed “It’s an oculus!” as we stared up at the incredible architectural feature. I giggled about this for days.

Group with hats

Amy wasn’t just a friend, she was like a sister. The other North Iowa bloggers are like my sisters, too. We’re practically family and I love them all. Now, I tell them all of the time. I’m telling everyone, both friends and strangers that I love them so often they probably think I’m crazy. Let them think what they want.

I miss our friend.


Learn more about Amy:
Amy Hild Memorial Fund
Globe Gazette article, “Hild remembered for enthusiasm, kindness.”
Amy’s blog Modern Rural Living

Iowa Bloggers Remember Amy:
Alicia Schmitt: Amy’s Gift
Alison Rost: Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes
Beth Ann Chiles: A Beautiful Spirit
Bryan Odeen: Running In Memory
Donna Hup: Comfort In Sorrow – Remembering Amy Hild
Jennifer Schmitt: Amy’s Energy & Is There A Right Way To Grieve? Hearts Left Behind
Joy Brown: I Can’t Say Goodbye
Katy Flint: Dealing With It  & Dear Amy
Kelly Gau Studios: There Is A Time For Everything. . . Even Death
Laura Weers: My Memories of Amy Hild
Mary Hopper: Relationships Are Everything
Sara Broers: Amy Of Modern Rural Living Was Set To Soar In Blogging & Is Now Soaring In The Heavens
Seneca Epley Photography: Remembering Amy
Val Plagge: Amy’s Gift of Friendship


  1. Beth Ann Chiles

    Darn it. I am crying again. You nailed it. I love you.

    • Jeni

      I love you too!

  2. Donna Hup

    Tears streaming again. P.S. Amy’s selfie stick lives on – she talked me into getting one about a month ago. Keep saying I love you, sister, I’m doing the same! Love you! xo

    • Jeni

      I love you too. Someone needs to carry on the selfie stick silliness.

  3. Alicia Schmitt

    The very first post I could muster up a enough courage to read. When I need a pick me up, I go to your blogs first. Awesome tribute, sending love.

    • Jeni

      Thanks Alicia. Saving you a hug.

  4. Ali Rost

    Beautiful Jen .. absolutely beautiful.

    I’m so very sorry for your loss


  5. Katy

    You captured Amy so well! I love you too!

    • Jeni

      I love you too.

  6. Dianna

    I’m here by way of Beth Ann, and although I never met Amy, it’s obvious that she was one special young lady. Please know that all of you: her blogging friends, her family, her friends and her fiance are all in my thoughts during this painful time. Your memories of her and all the fun times you shared will forever be with you.

    • Jeni

      Thank you so much Dianna.

    • Beth Ann Chiles

      Thanks for stopping by here as well, Dianna. Your support for all of us is so wonderful.

  7. Monica Jertson Cateron

    I never got to meet Amy in person, just chatted on and off on FB- I can’t imagine how you feel as her friend. Reading this makes me feel like I DID know her. Awesome story Jeni- I wish I had those magical words…..

    • Jeni

      Thanks Monica-I appreciate your kind words. Hopefully we can meet this year!

  8. Mary

    It’s official. I’m getting a selfie stick. The whole time Dave and I were In florida we kept joking about how much we needed a selfie stick. Now I must get one–in honor of Amy. So many wonderful memories you have. I wish I could have known her better. I am beyond amazed at how much she impacted my life, only knowing her for a few short months. I’m inspired to live my life more joyfully.

    • Jeni

      I will never make fun of a selfie stick again:) I’m so happy you could join us for painting.

  9. Tracy

    I’m so sorry for your loss. All of you. It is so tragic to lose someone so vibrant and so young. It is wonderful that you met such a fabulous group of women and shared so many adventures over the past two years. I hope you can all lean on each other for support during this difficult time and have many more adventures in the future. I know I love reading about them.

    • Jeni

      Thanks for your kind words. I am humbled by their support and the support of all of my readers. I know we can all feel the love. I love reading about your adventures too:)

  10. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids

    I needed to hear the raccoon story. I can totally see her saying that. And the story about her taking photos of food in Cedar Rapids. When I read that I could HEAR her say that – “because your food ROCKS!” Thanks for sharing Jeni!

    • Jeni

      Love you Val. It still makes me laugh. The owner seemed very nervous about her taking photos until she shouted that with so much enthusiasm.

  11. Feisty Eats

    So sorry for your loss, Jeni. What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend.

  12. Michelle

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jeni.

  13. Dailycurlz

    I am so sorry to hear this. Thanks for sharing this memories with us.

  14. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog

    I’ve been following this story on your FB, and my heart just breaks for all of you. I pray for comfort for all family & friends. She seemed like an awesome girl.

    • Jeni

      She really was! Thanks for being with us.

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