Category Archives: Lauren driving

wrapping things up…coming alive


I’m fast coming into my last month of school before going on this sabbatical of mine. So many changes coming.

1. In three weeks when I wake up on this Saturday morning I will be finished with all of my programs. This is a huge deal since I put on a ton of programs every year. I will be finished.

2. In two weeks I will no longer have before school choir rehearsals. It’s not that the kids are bad. They’re great. But getting an extra 45 minutes put back into my morning schedule…or just even added to my night’s sleep will be amazing. It really is the small things.

3. I will be starting to pack up stuff at school this week and for the next month. I’ve put it off so far. But I know I need to start. It’s amazing how much teacher’s put in to their classrooms from their own money. I will have the boxes in storage soon to prove it.

4. I will be saying goodbye to students and coworkers in just over a month. I already have talked with my co teacher about getting together once in awhile next year for lunch or something. I hope we do it. It’s so easy to say and then not follow up on. I know myself all too well.

5. I will be preparing for a major bike ride event that I’m taking in June with my daughter, lauren. PALM…pedal across lower Michigan. I will be biking every day for the next two months in preparation for that event.

6. I will be preparing for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary party. I’m the girl in charge of the pictures and power point, and music and writing up something to share. Thankfully I avoided the decorations and food end of the deal. Whew…what a relief.

7. In just over a month I will have no children in public schools anymore. We will be an entirely home schooled family. Lauren doing it this year has prepared us well for what I believe will be a successful experience but I’m very aware that lauren and lydia are not carbon copies, so I’m sure it will still be an adjustment…but worth it.

8. In a month my oldest daughter will be turning 16. Crazy! She’s hoping to get her license on her birthday and as long as we can get in her drive hours we should be good to do so. If I thought it was crazy being in the passenger seat with her…I’m definitely going to feel strange seeing her drive away on her own without me there to say STOP!!!! Thankfully…I think she’ll still hear my voice even when I’m not there since I’ve imprinted my voice on her memory forever:).

9. In the next month my daughter Lauren and I are getting small tattoos. In honor of her turning 16. We have planned on this for a year now. It’s not a whim. We have given great thought to what we want it to be and where we want to have it put. Pretty much based on what we’ve been told is the least painful:)…yes we are wimps. Lauren is getting a butterfly which fits her perfectly…I’m getting a word…which fits me perfectly. My word is “free”. That one four letter word lately has filled me to the brim and expresses everything I desire.

10. All while I’m closing down stuff in my normal life…I’m starting more private piano and voice students in May. I will be up to 9 students…actually 7 but 2 of the students are going to take double slots since they want to do voice and piano…so I count that as 9 :). As that business is increasing…it’s a good thing that soon my day job will be done. Doing both gets to be a bit much for a girl like me who is ready to collapse upon getting home from school. But I’m loving the private students I have. Each one is so unique. And I’m good at what I do. There is something absolutely wonderful about discovering what you’re good at and what actually is not only something you can give…but something that you receive from as well.

For too long I’ve lived my life based on trying to figure out what the world needs and meeting that need. That’s how I was raised. Make yourself useful…

I read this quote today from Glennon Doyle Melton’s book called “Carry On Warrior” and it spoke deeply to me. The quote is actually atttributed to Howard Thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

If I could, I would write those words, stencil them on my walls in every room because they are so profound to me. For too long as a Christian I have felt that my job was to look at the world and figure out what it needs and morph myself into whatever it needs. I’ve gone on missions trips that were not up my ally at all because I thought I was supposed to…I’ve slugged through the past 14 years teaching…even though, even when I was a student teacher I knew I didn’t enjoy the job. I’ve filled in countless ways at church simply because there were holes and I was taught that we are to fill the holes. I’m not sure that I’ve done anybody any good by living that way. So I’m stopping.

From here on out…I’m asking myself what makes me come alive…and that’s what I plan to do. I think the changing the world thing might just happen on it’s own if I just focus on me coming alive. Sometimes I get things a little backwards. I’ve lived the changing the world thing…and forgot how to really be alive myself. I’m done.

So…with all of the changes…I can tell you this…I will keep writing, and writing and writing. I currently write on four different blogs. If that isn’t crazy and unique than I don’t know what is. I’m trusting that in the right time and place all of this writing will be world changing, even if I never see it. In the mean time…it makes me feel alive.

I will also keep learning and growing and studying how to best pass on my love and gifts in music to individual students. I love the mix I have right now. I go from a middle age adult who I can completely relate to, to a five year old sweet girl on Mondays. I teach my own two girls on Tuesdays. And I have a lovely teenage girl on Thursdays and a couple of preteen girls starting up in May. No guys yet…that will be a new thing for me:). In time. I love the variety of piano and voice, the variety of age and experience. I feel alive after each lesson I give…like…hey I was made to be good at this. I’m getting paid for what comes fairly naturally to me. Seems nice.

I will also be pouring everything I have into my own two girls. For Lauren that means her and I on the bike trail for the next two months in a big way. I have a feeling we’re going to bond and cry and sweat like we’ve never done before….hopefully laugh too:). For Lydia…that means closing out the year as her teacher. I’ve now been teaching my daughter for the past 4 years. It’s been a good thing for us. We both know a season is closing. We want to move on…but we also I’m sure will feel some emotion about the whole thing.

Anyway…so much good stuff on the horizon. I have persevered and continue to do so.

What makes you come alive? Go do it!

Drivers ed.


The last few days of teaching my daughter Lauren how to drive has been very eye opening. Firsts tend to be that way. I never dreamed in the 15 years of knowing Lauren that I would be the one in the car during her first hours of driving. I was sure that would be assigned to some driver’s ed. teacher. That’s how it was when I was a kid. My dad took me out on a country road one time, I drove the big old brown station wagon having no clue what I was doing and wala I went to driver’s ed and was put in a car with students and a teacher. I didn’t get my permit until after completing the written and driving portion of the experience.

This is not how it is anymore…at least not in Illinois. Lauren is in her driver’s ed. class right now. The written portion. After three weeks in a 15 week class (Once a week for two hours) she was able to go to the local DMV and get her permit. And it was communicated to her that she was expected to have 10 hours of driving done before she drives with a driver’s ed. teacher. I find this ironic since that means basically I’m the one doing the job rather than the people I’m paying…but I guess that’s how it works. I’ve questioned Lauren on this several times thinking surely I must have misunderstood…but no, we’ve witnessed kids coming out of the driver’s ed. class hopping in the drivers seat of their parents car and driving off.


I figured this was one more time when I would just need to get courage and make it happen. So…this past weekend we got her permit. Thankfully, Lauren passed with flying colors…100%. That’s got to be worth something right! We had already had two episodes of church parking lot driving but I figured getting her permit meant that we were ready for a third time. It was raining so that brought on new unique challenges. As we made figure 8’s around the parking lot and attempted parking in several different spots I decided there was no time like the present to take her out on the open road. So…with some fear and trembling I decided to take her up to Shipman. It’s a small town, figured a straight country road should work out fine for both of us. One trip down the road that day was all I was up to. But at least we made it that far.

For the next several nights it seems I’ve gone to bed with visions of where we should drive next. I had the great thought hit me that we could go to our local park on Saturday afternoon…however it was way too busy so we ended up waiting. On Sunday though it was the right time. We tooled around that park at just the right speed…about 20 miles and hour. We drove (Lauren drove…me vicariously from the passenger seat) down lots of different little roads meandering back and forth and in and out of parking lots. It was remarkably nice. No big danger. Low speed, not many people. Comfortable.

Today…I thought it was probably time to take her to a real road. So we drove the River road along the Mississippi River. Beautiful view by the way. She was almost shaking when we pulled out of the parking lot onto the road but I have to appreciate the fact that she didn’t let this stop her:). We calmly drove down the road in the slow lane. Love it when there are two lanes and people can just pass you on by without riding on your behind. There was a nice shoulder, a great rumble strip so that if she ever went over the edge it was an automatic cue. She did great.

In fact so good that I actually had her drive over the rumble strip a couple of times just to see how it felt and how to react to it. The first time she jerked back…a normal first time reaction. But after that she was able to calmly bring the car back to where it needed to be.

It was sunset and the sun was going down beautifully on the river as we drove. Quite scenic. So we kept driving. She was confident enough that I said…let’s just drive on to Pierre Marquette Park. Lauren drove through her first town tonight…ok it was a sleepy little town but still she did it:). The adventurous part of the journey was from Grafton to Pierre Marquette Park. It had gotten dark. The four lane road was gone and the shoulder was pretty much nonexistent. All of a sudden when she started to get too close to the edge I could picture us rolling down a hill. Didn’t feel nearly as safe. We don’t know that section of road very well either. It curves here and there and cars were now on our back bumper. Lauren was feeling the stress. But she stayed composed. Ironically enough we were listening to Joy FM our local Christian radio station and the song came on “All I know is I’m not home yet this is not where I belong.” Felt a bit ironic:).

We made it to Pierre Marquette, turned around and came back towards home. When we got back to the part of the road we know well the part of the road that has four lanes and a nice even shoulder with a comforting rumble strip it was welcome relief.

Lauren got her permit on Friday. Since that time, pretty much 3 days, she’s driven almost 3 hours.

When this all started I was not liking the fact that I was going to be the one in the car having to deal with the stress of a starting driver. I would’ve happily paid someone else to do it. But tonight as we drove the river road, watching the sunset, listening to the radio, feeling a bit of fear when it got dark and unfamiliar I realized that I’ve been given a gift.

We will always remember this night. I won’t hear her talk about this kind of experience with someone else, some other adult in the front seat. I was in the front seat.

I was reminded that just as I wanted to be there for all of her firsts as a baby and a child this is just another first in a long line of firsts. When we first experience something all of our senses are so heightened. We notice so much and the memory of the experience is imprinted on our heart and mind.

Yeah…it would feel safer to me to ride with Lauren driving after she had gone through all of her hours with an instructor. But…I know I would’ve missed out on some really memorable moments.

Lauren did so well tonight on the river road I had her drive our local big hill and curvy road “Clifton Terrace” and drive us all the way home. The car is perfectly parked in the driveway. She’s already planning to drive us to church on Sunday:).

It felt good in moments to be a passenger tonight. The moments when I could release my strangle hold on the door’s handle:). It felt good to know that I would soon share the responsibility of driving and that maybe sometimes I could relax and just enjoy the ride. It seemed so good to look over and see Lauren taking the wheel. I told her she had so much confidence going on I could almost reach out and touch it. And yet…she’s still very aware of safety and being careful. It was obvious she is loving being in the driver’s seat!

This experience while it didn’t go along with what I would’ve planned is turning out into some real quality time between Lauren and I. I’m staying calm for the most part. Not always…but Lauren is coping well when I get a little panicky. We both agreed we would sleep well tonight. This driving stuff is exhausting:).

Wonder where we’ll drive next. I’ve always loved a good road trip:).