Mad for…Teri

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26)

One of my regrets in this life of mine is that years ago I did not offer up a hearty and well-deserved THANK YOU to a great woman named Teri Feller. She remains to this day a gal to whom I feel genuine indebtedness for the exceptional work she did with my oldest son, his classmates and scores of others. I’ve decided it’s never too late for gratefulness, and why not rectify the oversight today?

Teri is the mother of 3 grown children and the wife to Jay, a CPA who happens to work with my husband. That’s not how I know Teri, though. She spent many years as a teacher at St. Louis de Montfort School and she was, in my opinion, one of the finest educators to ever inhabit a classroom in that building. While she taught many things well, the Lord used her as His instrument as she taught the students religion. It warmed my heart so very much as a mother to send my son to her classroom each day.

The secret sauce for Teri is that she shared with the children her passion for her faith. She knew how much God loves each of us, and her sunshine showed. Much of what so many young adults know now about the beauty of the mass, for example, was gleaned in her classroom. They felt her love of the Lord and it was life-giving. Teri had command of a group of kids by the genuine and holy way she worked.

I remember laughing as her teaching partner (my dear friend Janet Andriole) spoke to the Lord with the entire combined group of kiddos one afternoon by opening, “Lord, it’s clear to us all that I am not as smooth at this leading a prayer thing as Mrs. Feller, but I am sure you understand my heart is in the right place as I stumble a little here…” It made me giggle as I stood nearby as a classroom helper that day because I had been thinking the entire time, PLEASE do not ask me to lead this group in prayer, Jesus. These children had already gotten used to Mrs. Holiness, you see, and the rest of us pretty much felt like freshmen on the first day of school standing next to her. It was a relief to hear the very articulate Janet express what I had been thinking!

Teri was and is a beautiful person. She’s funny, bright, and soft-spoken. She exudes graciousness and kindness in every interaction I have ever had with her. Teri, THANK YOU for the stunning witness of faithfulness you shared all those years ago with the kids, and for always reminding me each time I see you what goodness looks like. The world sure would be a lot better off with a whole slew of women half as fantastic as you!

Mad for…Mike

Sports contribute to the love of life and teach sacrifice, respect and responsibility, leading to the full development of the human person. (St. John Paul II)

Day 62 of 365.

Mike Fremion is a man I first met several years ago when his son, Grant, was playing baseball at GC alongside my oldest son, Nick. He’s a fiery guy who loves country music, a nice cold beer…and for some reason unknown to me…the Minnesota Vikings? He’s the husband of a very sweet woman named Pam, who is going straight to heaven, and proud dad of 4. He’s got a great smile and funny and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Today, I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to Mike for the many, many hours he has dedicated these last few years to coaching our youngest son, Zach…and many, many other young guys over the years. It’s easy to be a critic of youth coaches, but honestly the number of hours and the energy this guy has put in really does make him a hero. Do you know how NOT FUN it is to endlessly rake baseball fields and scrounge around for gym space like a beggar? It’s not a glamor gig.

Playing on a sports team coached by Mike Fremion is not for the faint of heart, that we can all agree on who know him. However, I believe it was St. Augustine who said that we should not be content with what we are, that we should each push ourselves to become what we are not. I’m going to assume Coach Fremion is a big St. Augustine fan, ha?

In all seriousness, Mike Fremion loves the kids and I’m incredibly grateful for him. In the kids he instills a strong work ethic, strength, and fortitude. He’s intense, enthusiastic, passionate, but also truly encouraging. To say that Mike has gone out of his way for the sake of others in the time I have known him would be a tremendous understatement. Need help with transportation or anything else he might assist with? No worries. He’s on it. When we joined his little sports circle, we were coming in later than most the other families. He was incredibly welcoming, he drew us in to his circle of friendship, and that warmth always remained. He’s a character and integrity-filled guy whose efforts make a difference for others.

Thank you, Mike, for the hospitality, the many hours of toil, and the kindness you have shown to the entire Thieme family, but especially Zach. We are grateful for you.