Mad for…Colleen

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. –Steve Jobs

Day 105 of 365: Colleen Stine

When I first met Colleen, she was still Colleen O’Malia. She hadn’t added the “Stine” yet. She was “Aunt Coco” actually. That’s how I knew her because that’s how her oldest sister, Janet, my dear friend, always referred to her in my company, and so did her sunny sister, Shannon. My oldest two sons, Nick and Drew, called her “Aunt Coco” for a long time too when they were little guys. She was the energetic, light-filled “fun” aunt to some of the best kiddos around. Her nephews, Nick and Jake Andriole adored her, as did their little sis, Alli. Ditto her nephew, Connor. Danny hadn’t arrived on the scene yet, nor obviously the three gorgeous Stine kiddos in the photo above. She’s now married to just a kind and fantastic man named Doug, and they live nearby here in Carmel. I remember their wedding as one of the most fun evenings EVER.

Colleen is as genuine as she is transparent. She leads with humor and silliness…and usually there is a trail of kid-approved snacks falling from her vehicle when the door opens. Her life is beautiful and inspiring, but it is not easy. She leans hard on her husband, her parents and her faith. She and Doug now have 5 children, including Connor and Danny Hall, the sons of her sister, Shannon, who left this world waaaaay too soon. All that leads me to this quirky birthday tribute today.

Colleen. I read this quote below, and I wish I could tell you where I saw it. It makes my heart swell and my eyes leak a tiny bit too. It made me think of you today and just how much I truly love the woman you are.

“Some of the kindest souls I know have lived in a world that was not so kind to them. Some of the best human beings I know have been through so much, and they still love deeply, they still care. Sometimes, it’s people who have been hurt the most who refuse to be hardened in this world, because they would never want to make another person feel the same way they have felt. If that isn’t something to be in awe of, I don’t know what is.”

Colleen, I don’t know if you can see it from your frazzled, over busy angle but the rest of us are blown away by how you let God lead. Those words of Jesus, “Come, follow me” make me think of you, too, and what you have done so beautifully with your life by the stunning witness you give each day to all in your wake. Instead of being a big tangled mess on the floor when the noise of life overwhelms, you’ve opened yourself up to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and let the Lord lead you in the most grace-filled dance. Whether you realize it or not, yours is a life full of grace that truly does inspire everyone around you– even when you don’t remember practice and you forgot to order hot lunch!

Inspiring goodness in others is completely how you roll. I happen to think it, and YOU are stunning in every way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COLLEEN! The Thieme family is crazy about you!

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