Lessons from Chicago

Yesterday was a wonderful day!

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I spent it in Chicago with my son, Jonathan, and Cy.

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 We were there for Jonathan’s to audition for the fall season of The Voice.

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It was the first time Jonathan has auditioned for a show like that.  

We arrived late to our hotel, Mile North Chicago, Friday night.  It was a very nice hotel.  Much nicer than we usually stay at.  It didn’t even have vending machines or a continental breakfast!!  HUH?  This Kentucky girl likes her vending machines and continental breakfasts! :)

Saturday morning, we walked a couple blocks down to the Corner Bakery.  It was scrumptious, and they had great fountain cokes!  :)


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 Then we started walking toward the Navy Pier where the auditions were being held.  It was bitter cold!


 We waited in lines outside for a while, then we waited in a huge room with over 1,000 contestants, and then we were escorted to a smaller room with over 300 people in it, then we were broken into groups of ten and taken to the audition rooms.


 Jonathan auditioned with 9 other singers in room 325.


 I got to go in with him since he is only 15 and a minor.  (So happy about that rule!)

There was one judge at the front of the room behind a desk and her computer.  She called each contestant up to sing, and they each sang a verse and the chorus from the song of their choice.  Jonathan was the last to go.  He did such a great job, and I was so proud of him.  I know that takes a lot of courage.

When he was finished, the tension began building in the room as the judge looked over her notes.  And then she said, “Okay.  Jonathan….stay seated, and the rest of you are free to go.  Thank you for auditioning.”

My heart stopped.  Jonathan looked at me, and we both kind of looked at each other like, Huh?

They escorted the other contestants out of the room and shut the door.  There we were….the three of us.  Jonathan, Me, and the judge.

She asked Jonathan to come back up in front of her desk.  She asked him questions like if he had ever auditioned before, what experience he has had singing, and other questions.  Jonathan was so cute with his answers and his “yes, mams.”  I was loving it.  Then she asked him to sing another song for her.

Here is where it got interesting.  hee.hee.

For the auditions, they tell all of the contestants to have two songs ready.  So Jonathan has been practicing his two songs for several weeks.  He was singing Make it Rain by Ed Sheeran, and then Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.

So when he told the judge he was going to sing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, she wrinkled up her nose and said, “No, don’t do that one.  Do you have something more current?”

That was the point that Jonathan looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  :)

He wasn’t expecting that.  He had practiced his two songs, and he didn’t have a third song ready.  (Note to self:  have more songs ready for the next auction.)  

So he stumbled around which song to sing, but finally decided to sing Taylor Swift’s Blank Space.  He did great! 

When he was finished, she asked him to come up to the table, and she took a picture of him on her cell phone.

Now the goal in this audition was to get a red card.  If you got a red card, it meant that you made it to the next round of auditions.

She looked at Jonathan and said, “So here’s the deal.  I like you a lot.  You are super cute, got a great voice, and your young.  I’m just not positive you are ready for this type of competition, so I am going to consider you a ‘maybe.’  I’m going to mull over this tonight after auditions, and if I give you a call tonight, you will go to the next round.”

Then she asked Jonathan some more questions, gave him some good advice on song choice, and we were free to go.

Although he didn’t get a red card, we were THRILLED with the whole experience.  She saw something special in Jonathan and his voice, and it was a huge encouragement.  

We jumped on a Trolley and road to Giordano’s for dinner. 


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 I had a ton of my readers suggest that we go here for pizza, and it was delicious!

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The cheese on their pizzas is insane!!

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 After dinner, we went back to our hotel and chilled.  We talked about the audition and called a bunch of family members.  It was fun reliving the events of the day.  Of course, we were waiting for the phone to ring.  We were really hoping for that call back.  Unfortunately, no call.  :(

But we had a lot of great talks about this experience, and talked about everything we learned from it.  We also discussed how important it is to trust God with the plans HE has for our lives.

This morning, we woke up and at breakfast at Wild Blueberry (another suggestion from my readers.  thank you very much!)

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And we made a stop by Garret’s popcorn to get some treats to take home to our boys.  

So we didn’t gain a “red card” on this trip, but we did gain about 5 pounds each!  :)

So here are the lessons we learned on this trip:

1.  Bring warmer clothes.


2.  Wear loose clothing to make room for all of the food you will eat.


3.  Time with family is the best gift on earth.


4.  It is fun to dream.


5.  God is in control.  We don’t have to worry about our future when we know it is safely held in God’s hands.


6.  Our worth is not determined by whether or not we win or loose a competition.  Our worth is determined only through Jesus Christ, and He says we are priceless.


7.  Life is an amazing, wonderful adventure!!!


Thanks for all of your prayers and support of Jonathan as he chases his dreams!  It was so special to share it with you!!



  1. Jonathan may not have gotten a red card–but he has so much more. Family, Faith, and Talent that will bring him all he wants in life! Not only is his family proud of him–but blogland is too–he is so talented and will only become more so with time. Keep singing Jonathan and keep going to tryouts–your time will come when it is suppose to…

  2. Loved reading about this experience. Thank you for sharing this with us as we watch what God has planned for such a special young man.

  3. Oh wow – what a whirlwind trip! I am so glad Jonathan had that experience. He has quite a few years ahead and now he knows what to expect from that type of situation too. He’s so talented there is no doubt he’ll go far. God’s timing! Sounds like you all had a fun time together and now I am craving pizza!! xo

  4. Enjoyed hearing about your journey! And to us readers, Jonathan is the VOICE!!!

    The pancakes looked UNBELIEVABLE!!! No worries, we all gained 5 lbs too just LOOKING at your great pictures!!

  5. Wow…he DID have a great experience. All the things you mentioned above and, just think of all the people who were sent out of a room of ten that didn’t get the one on one attention and advice he got. That is super. God’s plan may be another time perhaps.

  6. I live in Chicago suburbs & am so very glad you enjoyed your time here.Yes it’s cold some say we’re Chi-Beria this time of year.Your restaurant choices were all amazing! Johathon will have much to contemplate..but God’s in control & if he sees you to it,he’ll see him thru it… Lords blessings ..keep singing…

  7. Thank you for sharing the experience with us. My favorites on your list are #2, 5 and 6.
    Great experience for Jonathan.
    We like our continental breakfast too.

  8. It’s so funny but I had two friends audition here in the Atlanta area last Saturday. Neither one made it as far as Jonathan. My husband and I have always said Jonathan has such an awesome voice and such a wonderful young man he should try out for either The Voice or Idol. Sounds like Yall had a great time and did so well, we are tickled for Yall. Hugs to Jonathan!

  9. Many people try out several times before they get to the stage. I would say, try again and again. Good luck—-

  10. How exciting! I do believe I will be rooting for Jonathan to win the Voice someday. What a wonderful experience for all of you

  11. So happy you all had a Great experience in Chicago! Sounds to me like age and more experience are the only factors for no call back, so that Is a plus! Jonathan could audition again and in the future, winning that Red Card Still! Having faith in Possibilities is what gives us courage to move ahead and strength to reach for the stars.

  12. I am so excited for Jonathan, and for you! He is so talented and has a bright future I am sure. He will always have good experiences because he has great parents that help him process both success and disappointment in his life! Hugs to you!

  13. Wow! You must be so proud of you son-such courage it takes to do audition like this at such a young age. I love how you trust in His plan for your son. Also, I’m giggling because I live in Chicago and Saturday was the warmest day in weeks and weeks! I felt like I could wear shorts! (almost…)

  14. I’m so happy for you all. This was an outstanding experience, and amazing to receive such personal advise. It sound like it’s nothing that time and experience won’t cure. Don’t give up that dream if that’ what he wants.
    I suggest G’s a while back…glad you made it. Try Anne Sather’s for breakfast next time. It’s an institution for a reason! :)

  15. Way to go, Jonathan. These experiences will pave the path to eventual success. Good job, mom and dad, too!

  16. So glad you included this group in your sons experience. That was amazing! You are right that God is in control! He will lead him in the right direction. Things happen for a reason and if it’s not well with Jesus you don’t need it. You should post a video of him singing. I would love to hear him!

  17. So proud of Jonathan as he pursues his dreams! It DOES take a lot of courage to audition like that, and I know you are so incredibly proud of him. You know, it’s funny … I’ve only been to Chicago a few times, but you ate at all my favorite places! And you learned more important lessons than I ever picked up there. So all in all, you hit a home run. ;-)

  18. What a blessing it is to read about your family whose priorities are right and instill it in your family. Jonathan is already a winner and with the talent he has been blessed with, he will definitely go far in His timing! Thanx for sharing and the food looks amazing!!! Yum!

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