Mad for…Erin

She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25)

This globe-trotting cutie is Erin (Vanderkleed) Ulrich. In this photo, she and I were grabbing a glass of wine in Sorrento, Italy with our moms. She was a very key cog in my one and only overseas adventure. You see, it turns out Erin is a map reading, walking tour SAVANT.

In my growing up years in Lafayette, Erin and her family were a fixture. Our Dads were buddies in high school, both proud members of the Jefferson Bronchos tennis team. My dad was best man in her parent’s wedding. The Vanderkleeds had two girls, and there were two of us Dykhuizen girls. I was the oldest and Erin was the youngest, so she’s several years younger than me, and that’s all you need to know! Ha?

Erin and her really fantastic husband, Brad, are both Purdue grads and therefore, fellow Boilermakers. They have three children (Jack, Sara and Lily) and she lives in Libertyville, IL. Erin is a woman of tremendous strength and formidable aptitude in most anything she puts to her mind. She’s moved across the country with her husband as he climbed through the ranks at Walgreens over the years, which I am certain has not been an easy task to manage with a young family in toe. From afar (and through my mom’s updates) I’ve kept up with Erin and her sister, Jill, through the years.

Erin’s a wife, mother, sister, and an aunt. She enjoys running and she’s incredibly beautiful, even after walking 10 miles while reading non-stop from a Rick Steves walking tour guide to Rome (after an overnight flight from Chicago). How did she do that? Truly, she has a certain elegance with which she carries herself. I watched her for 10 days and I still can’t figure out how she ties her scarves in such a charming way. When she does it, it looks so easy and darling…while I am pretty much a tangled mess! Ha!

She’s lived in Chicago, in Oklahoma, in Boston and now she’s back to Chicago. Did I miss a stop? I’m not entirely sure. As a mother, one’s concern is for the health and emotional well being of her children during times of chaos. Her plate has been full with their adventurous roaming. I have tremendous admiration for Erin’s energy, fortitude and toughness.

Erin, I know I’m a couple days late on the birthday love, but perhaps you should know that I am all about the FESTIVAL style celebration when it comes to these things!? I’m incredibly grateful for our chance to reconnect during what was a truly meaningful and beautiful trip this past fall! Having you there made the experience so much better. Thank you also for your kind words and encouragement during my recent health craziness. They were truly appreciated!

From your witness, I’ve learned how important it is to remember that strength comes from persistent and continuous effort…we’ve just got to keep going! If we do that, we’ll be just fine. You are a terrific human. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY FRIEND!! I hope it was a great one!

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