Category Archives: private lessons

Here comes August


Tomorrow is the big day. The first month of actual sabbatical time. Teachers are already beginning to set up their  classrooms for the coming year.  Honestly, the set up part and the going to the teacher store part was always kind of fun to me. Or at least not a bad thing.

But instead for me…tomorrow starts a big push (especially as I get back from vacation in a few days) to pick up voice and piano students. July has been slow and honestly…I’ve been ok with that. It’s been a perfectly relaxing month. Well besides the complete emptying of my basement…but otherwise, perfectly relaxing.

When we get back from vacation (Niagara Falls/Toronto, just in case you’re curious) I hope to get back into the swing of lessons and pick up many students that I don’t even know about yet.

This is a faith thing for me. I have an idea of how many students I would like to have…but am also trusting that surely God knows what I need. As I biked today I even told God, if in a year you want me to go back to teaching…and you make it abundantly clear, I’ll do it. Part of the clarity issue is obviously whether I can be self employed and make it work or not.

Self employment is an interesting experience. Great freedom. Great boss. Also far less security. I’m at peace about it…but I know people around me who are worried for me. Maybe I would be worried for my friend or relative too, if I was the one watching on.

I try to live my life in a way where I make good choices, but ultimately where I step out in faith and trust that God will provide. I don’t allow a whole lot of worry to enter the picture, mainly because I know when I have it’s been a whole lot of wasted time and effort.

We either trust God or we don’t. It’s honestly that clear of a decision. If we don’t trust God in one area…we might as well say we don’t trust Him in any area. He is either big enough or not worth my time. He either can handle the details of my life or what was the point of Him coming to this earth in the first place.

I believe in Resurrection power faith. I believe that if Jesus could be raised from the dead (and he was), than surely He can take care of me and lead me where He wants me to go. I don’t think that means that it will be easy or without hiccup, but I do believe in the provision of God.

August for me is my last month of getting teacher pay. It marks a significant change for me. The end of health insurance also. Although I am in the process of at least getting some insurance to cover us when our current one is done.

This is my month when faith hits the road and takes me wherever it might lead.

My part is to listen to God and to live in a way where I am open to His leading and direction. My part is to work hard and take the opportunities that present themselves to me. My part is to take initiative. But ultimately, I am not the one who raises the dead. He is. Ultimately…for me to do this self employment thing and for it to work…will require an act of God on my behalf.

He is able. I am willing. I’m trusting Him to provide. And if this is only temporary, I’m sure He will make that clear as well.

Welcome August. I think I’m ready for you.

Side note…if you live in the area and are interested in private voice or piano lessons I know a great teacher who has openings for lessons. The lessons are $20 a half hour and include all of your supplies. The lessons you will receive will be of the highest quality and progress no matter what your current level of musicianship is guaranteed. Let me know if you are interested or have a friend or family member that might be. Thanks!

my summer so far…


Life seems to fall in place often without me even knowing the places it should fall into.

I’ve been on sabbatical to some degree now for a month and a half and yet maybe this is not really my sabbatical yet since school hasn’t started yet. Maybe this is just summer vacation like I would normally have. Regardless…I have no blueprint for how this time in my life should work.

I have read no books on taking a sabbatical. That’s my normal mode of operation. If I’m going to travel some place I read books about that place. Hence, I was sitting at a water park yesterday with a book on Canada in my hand 🙂

Weird side note…you might be my soul mate if you like to read guidebooks on places to travel to.

Anyway…I have not read any books on the subject of taking a sabbatical. I’ve not read any blog posts or subscribed to anything telling me what I should expect or anticipate or make sure I do or don’t do.

This is very uncharted water for me.

Sacred, take your shoes off, ground. Holy. Set apart.

None of my normal ways of taking on life or new challenges fit right now.

I’m becoming a student again, studying myself, trying to understand years of beliefs, thoughts, patterns and habits, ways of life and sorting through them to choose at this point what I will keep with me on the journey I have left.

I want to travel much lighter for the next forty years than I ever have before. Literally and figuratively.

The physical side has manifested itself in a recent desire to live in a minimalist kind of way. Today I will be finishing off my basement and holding another yard sale most likely this weekend. It is amazing to me how freeing it is to get rid of stuff!

But figuratively…I want to clean house too, in my mind, my heart and soul.

This is what I’m finding…I was made to focus on one thing and see it through to completion. I’ve just never really been able to do that in my normal life. Schedule didn’t allow it. Job requirements didn’t allow it.

I’ve been a HUGE multi-tasker and proud of it mind you. I thought it was me. I thought that’s the way life was lived best for me. Make the most of every moment type of thinking.

A month and a half into this sabbatical and I’m realizing it’s not me. Probably never was. Just a mold that I conformed to out of necessity. Which leads me to wonder how many other ways of life that I have thought were ‘me’ really aren’t…just my way of coping with life at the time.

Without me planning it…I’m noticing that month by month (keep in mind only one and a half months have gone by so far 🙂 I seem to be focusing in on one area of my life and really devoting myself to that one area.

In June it was biking, the physical side of taking on something I’d never done (Biking across a state). I’m not athletic, never have been. But I am strong and I can persevere.

I kept trying to set up a schedule in June to balance out writing, biking, and music lessons and what happened, without me meaning to, is I kept using my writing time to go for a bike ride because it was the cool of the day. I almost felt guilty about not keeping my schedule I had made on paper because I was sure it needed to be rigid since I had read about other creative people and how rigid they lived to make the most of the time. But in the end…I focused an unusual amount of time on biking and the subject of it. To the point where my oldest daughter said…”I don’t want to go into another bike shop for a long, long time.” 🙂

This month my music lessons have almost all fallen off. It’s July. It makes sense. Even my own two kids are taking a break. In fact, if I continue with this business as I hope to, I will probably make July a month off, as a break for everybody.

Our bike trip is done and the weather has been so hot and humid we haven’t biked much lately. Although, my youngest daughter did start and I plan to buy her a bike this month 🙂 The girls started homeschooling so the time to just go take a 3-4 hour bike trip hasn’t been quite as present. I’ve felt bad about this because…of course I feel compelled to continue hard and aggressive on the biking thing I guess.

But instead…what’s happened is, I’ve focused in on writing this month in new ways. Mainly what’s happened is I’ve become an eclectic reader. I have two daughters. My oldest listens to a huge variety of music, every style and type, I never know what’s coming next when she chooses the music for a road trip. Which makes the trip quite fun by the way. My youngest likes one or two styles but knows everything about those styles and I mean everything. She knows exactly who is in the group, who sings what part and can sing each harmony part that is in the song. She could tell you everything about those few groups and those few music styles. What’s happened for me reading wise is I just keep broadening the variety of books and blogs I read.

Yes I still enjoy some spiritual/deep thinking types of things, but I also enjoy humor, and blogs on writing and on minimalism and simple living. I also enjoy blogs on business and marketing. The list of blogs I’ve subscribed to this month would look like my oldest daughters play list for a long road trip, it’s extremely varied these days. And I love it.

As I read many different ways of viewing the world, many different styles of writing and thinking, my own thinking and writing are being broadened. I love thinking new thoughts. I love thinking about things in a way that I never have before. I love turning something over in my mind and seeing it from a different point of view. I love reading from all types of authors, all races, gender, religious views…I enjoy realizing how much all of us really do have in common even if we come from such different ways of life.

I tend to lean more towards emotion as I write. I write about what I’m experiencing and feeling most of the time. But I enjoy reading authors who are logical and cause me to view life from a thinking view point.

Some of you are married to your “opposite”. I was at one time. Being a widow, I’ve missed that part of life. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be exposed to people, writing, books, blogs that cause you to think through your own beliefs and ways of living and might even inspire you to make change.

It hadn’t really dawned on me until today…but this month, July…I know is single heartedly about writing and reading and thinking new thoughts.

I’m being challenged to try and figure out how to take my writing to the next level. What that even means. Publishing a book? Entering a writing contest? Guest posting on a blog? I’m not sure. But I know writing is at the core of who I am. It must be done. I can’t imagine my life without it.

I wonder what it would be like to actually receive some type of pay in this line of work. I’m not sure I can pull that kind of thing off. But I want to try. I want to push myself to go further than I have before. (Kind of like biking across a state….just writing instead 🙂

I already have a pretty good idea that August will be about the third component in my life…music lessons. It will be my time to put on a big push to pick up voice and piano students for the school year. I will need to market in every way I can think of and some ways that haven’t even occurred to me yet. I will also need to spend time studying and upping the level of my lessons. They are already excellent now…but I know I still have more to learn and more to offer to my students. My one lesson yesterday reminded me that I am good at teaching private lessons and it’s a worthwhile thing for me to pour myself into students on a one on one basis. So that will be what August is about.

And then in the fall…I think it will be figuring out how to combine all three of these areas, while parenting and keeping a home and being involved in my church.

I’m thankful right now that it’s ok for me to focus on one thing at a time. It’s allowing me to go deeper than I’ve ever gone before. What I’m finding is that in my multitasking life I was just scratching the surface, which seems incredible to me. I’m realizing there is so much more available for me to pursue and try than I ever dreamed before.

This is an exciting time in my life. I am so grateful.

Packing up


Tomorrow I’m going into my elementary school after school to pack up and be done there. I can’t believe I’ve really made it to the finish! I have to go back on Tuesday but only to escort a group of kids for their play day while teachers get a break. Easy day. I’m really…done. After a year of counting down and a year and a half of dreaming, I can’t believe my reality is so dramatically about to change.

The great thing is…I’m regularly getting phone calls these days for my private voice and piano business. I’m up to 10 students already and spring is not even a normal starting point. I feel very encouraged that I will have no problem filling the remaining 16 slots that I hope to fill by fall. I can’t tell you how much I sense that God is taking care of me and making this transition as smooth as it can be. I’m grateful!

Tuesday I’ll finish out and Wednesday pack up at the middle school and then…I’m done. Totally done.

I’m headed out the next day to a church conference and assuming that must be where God wants me to be for the start of this new adventure. After that…some rest is on my docket. And getting ready for a bike trip across Michigan and my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary.

I think it will take me a little while to not feel like I’m just on a vacation. Some time for it to sink in. I’m looking forward to not feeling like I have to get all of the projects done this summer in time for another school year. Pacing is going to be so different. Sigh…

More than ever I’m ready to be the person I believe I am made to be. Yesterday I went to lunch with a music teacher I respect very much and she said…”Ruth you’re excellent at your job…but you just have more that you want to do with your life.” “You were made to do more.” Ah…that’s exactly how I feel. It’s not that I’m a bad teacher, or that I’ve hated the past 14 years…it’s more about the fact that I know I have so much more that is inside of me just waiting for me to follow my dreams and open myself up to. I’m ready to be brave and go for it.

I’m not sure this is something that everybody feels or even needs to experience. I just know for me…there’s something more for me to do. And I’m ready to do it.

It might be through writing. I can tell you this…I will write daily for the rest of my life even if it never pays me a dime. It’s just who I am and how I process and make sense of this life.

It might be through private lessons. I know this…I’m good at music, I’m also good at helping others to be good at it. I know no better way to bring beauty to my community than for me to share my talents with those who really want to learn.

It might be through me being a parent. I’m homeschooling both girls next year, and spending far more time with both girls than I have in the past. And we’ve always been close…but I think that will just increase.

Who knows what else God might do…but I’m open to anything 🙂


Do you feel like there’s something more for you to do? Something more than is currently happening in your life. If you feel this way you might just try to push it down. I pushed it down for a long time. You might tell yourself you don’t have those options. But if there really is something more for you…all you need to do is start stepping in that direction and let the pieces fall into place. Opportunities will open as you have the courage to make change. What would you be doing if money was no issue? What would you do and not even have to be paid for it because you enjoy it that much? I say go do it…you might be surprised when you start being paid for something that you are passionate about but just needed courage to step into. Take money out of the equation…even if it seems unrealistic and get real with yourself. What causes you to come alive? Go do it.