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Believe in yourself first


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Lauren Schmitz-Campbell has been self-determined for as long as anyone can remember. She’s done things her own way, and it’s working out pretty well for her.

“In high school, my dad was insistent we were all learning Spanish,” she said. “There was no way I was going to learn Spanish. We went round and round about it and I took French. I continued in college. I still speak fluently. When I was working for my parents at the dealership, my dad came to me and said, ‘We’ve got a group in back. They’re from France and they don’t speak English and their bike’s broke.’ So I went back and translated.”

Never one to do things by halves, Lauren enjoys using her language skills.

“I stay in contact with the people I met there,” she said. “Any time I see my French teacher, Madame Markham, I speak to her in French. She speaks to me in English, but I always speak to her in French. I talk to my animals in French and I talk to my kids in French, so they’re learning it.”

Lately, she’s been immersing herself more in her music.

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“Music is truly a passion for me,” Lauren said. “When we would go to the parade, I always loved seeing the NMMI cadets and their sousaphones. I loved that deep, round sound. I grew up listening to blues because my dad loves blues and jazz. They always had that big, round sound in the background and I thought it was so pretty. So when band became an option, I wanted to play the piano but my mom said, ‘No that’s too big. Pick something else.’ So I decided to play the tuba. I’ve played the tuba since I was in the sixth grade. I own my own instrument and I play at home and I love it.”

She recharges her batteries by playing in the community band.

“I saw an article in the paper about Sandra Weikel,” Lauren said. “It mentioned her being a director with the community band. When I found out that they do this Monday nights from 7 to 8:30, I thought it was perfect. I could spend time with my boys and put them to bed. My husband could stay home with them. I could participate and rejuvenate myself. Because it’s community band, I get to give back to the community when people come and listen to our concerts. That has been a huge thing for me to be able to play again.”

Lauren’s marriage is a partnership that they work on together.

“Being in love is work,” she said. “No matter how good it is, you have to be willing to put in the work if you want it to go somewhere. There is a difference in spousal roles anymore. So many people have become independent. Being able to offer our differences to help the other person grow is a beautiful thing. I think a lot of people miss out on that. We understand that each person has to have their own thing that they do to regain themselves.”

Lauren never expected to be a mother. She’s come to love it, though.

“Being a mom has made me realize that I am more capable than I thought that I was,” she said. “I used to think, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ Then one day I realized this was one of the most wonderful things that I’ve ever experienced. I have the opportunity not just to give something to someone but help them grow as a person. They’re doing the same thing for me. It made me see things differently and I could be anyone that I wanted to be, and I could be the best version of me.”

While she’s enjoying the broader horizons of being bilingual, or feeding her soul with music, she’s also reveling in the growth of her children and building a strong marriage with her husband. Lauren sees the world through the eyes of a healer.

“I found an article about a school of animal massage,” she said. “I got my license for large and small animals, so I can massage cats, snakes, horses, dogs and more. After years of doing that, my clients kept asking if I could work on them. So I went back to school and got my license for people. I do both now.

“Animals are so healing. They accept massage completely differently than people. They’re so open to it — their healing time is cut down drastically. We could learn a lot from them. For example, when an animal is passing away, I do passage massage. It helps them to pass from this life into the next. A lot of times it not only helps the animal to let go, it helps the owner to process what is going on because that’s family to them.”

Lauren’s stubborn streak has taken her along a path nobody could have predicted. She has done works and blessed people in ways many will never forget. She says that life has taught her one important lesson she wishes everyone knew.

“Don’t doubt yourself,” she said. “Whatever you want to do, whatever you think that you would like to gain out of life — believe in yourself and go for it because anything is possible and you’ve got to believe in yourself first.”