Mad for…Kris

Intense love does not measure, it just gives. –St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta

Thus far, I’ve been spending my summer mostly trying to squeeze in long walks between rain storms and my duties as an “Uber Black” driver for my youngest son, Zach. Schlepping him to and from practices, lessons and workouts for basketball, golf, and tennis keeps me up to date on today’s country music scene too, as my 15 year old “DJ” runs through his favorites on Spotify. He’s a fun kiddo to talk to and be around, though, so I am not complaining.

This afternoon after his workout at St. Maria Goretti with the “Shot Doc”, a beautiful face I hadn’t seen for a while popped into the gym with her youngest daughter, Zoey. Kris Bussick and her sweet girl were a sight for sore eyes, because the golf courses and gyms I spend most my time visiting are relatively low on estrogen. Whether she wanted a hug or not, I forced one on her, at which time she humored me with a beautiful smile then promptly pointed out what I have been thinking since school ended. “These kids are living the good life, aren’t they?”

Kris is pictured above with her charming and friendly husband, Bill, and together they have four children and a new son-in-law. It felt fortuitous to me that I had the chance meeting with Kris today, because my mind has been so full in recent weeks with many spiritual concerns, mostly related to how in the world are we going to spend eternity with God when we just can’t seem to get along down here at all? All the media, social and traditional, seems to be just so incredibly full of anger and divisiveness. It’s heavy on my heart.

Seeing Kris reminded me about love, because she’s the one who taught me about what it means to “Love Foolishly” by her own example. Kris is a generous and utterly faith filled wife, mom, sister and friend who also co-founded The O’Connor House in Carmel. Their mission is to provide a Christian residential home to help struggling single pregnant women improve life for themselves and their children. What she has undertaken with it’s creation is the ultimate example of loving foolishly. They provide food, shelter, clothing, transportation, pre-natal and post-natal nutrition, parenting skills, financial management and so much more! What they offer is compassion, encouragement, hope and healing. If you’d like to know more, visit http://www.theoconnorhouse.org.

Her benevolence and earnest devotion to her Catholic faith are both things that make Kris utterly remarkable to me. She’s thoughtful and grace-filled with a quiet but very real sense of humor, and she’s grateful for what God has done in her life (the good and the challenging both) and those around her. Kris doesn’t seem particularly attached to the attention of others, rather, she seems intent on doing the right thing for the purpose of glorifying the Lord by the way she lives and the choices she makes. She inspires in me a desire to work on that 5th chapter of Matthew a little more.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Mt. 5: 44-45).

Today, in fact, I read an article from Aleteia.org about how Mother Teresa displayed a certain detachment to the opinions of others when she was alive. For instance, she was once asked about a very unflattering and even vulgar book by Christopher Hitchens that was written about her. She was said to respond, “Oh, the book. It matters not. He is forgiven.” The article went on to say that she saw things in the light of God. That’s very much how I view Kris. She sees things in that same way. How fortunate are all whose lives cross her path!!

Thanks, Kris, for the gift of your genuine and authentic love for Christ and how you share it with all around you. Because I saw you today, I was reminded that God is love and my response to all the challenges of life should be LOVING FOOLISHLY. Period. You, amazing woman, are a treasure!!

Mad for…Danny

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. -Roger Staubach

The biggest Xavier University basketball fan I know is Danny O’Malia. He’s pictured above, a year or so ago with my son, Nick, who was interning with the Xavier Athletic Department at the time. When he found out that my oldest son intended to become a Muskie when he graduated from Guerin Catholic, Danny reached out with enthusiasm and made sure that the entire Thieme clan knew that he would be pleased to help Nick in any way with his transition. His genuineness and authenticity are impossible to miss!

A former President of O’Malia Food Markets, Danny is busy these days as “Indy’s Trusted Servant” and an expert on good customer service. He definitely lives what he preaches when it comes to treating others with a smile and genuine hospitality as I have never been treated with anything other than utter graciousness by him.

Danny is the husband to a bubbly and beautiful wife named Rita, and together they raised three amazing daughters– Janet, Shannon and Colleen. Over the years, I got to know him through my friendship with them. He has four grandsons who have been on sports teams with my 3 boys at various times over the years, so it has been my pleasure to cheer those fine young men on, alongside Danny and Rita many, many times.

I’ve spent several sunny afternoons lolly-gagging poolside at his Carmel home. Most of those afternoons, I spent the day there knowing full well that neither Rita or Danny was aware I had even been invited, but knowing always that when they did show up, I would get a big sunny smile and a “So great to see you, Shelly!”

I admire greatly the example of kindness, fortitude, faithfulness and unselfishness displayed by Danny during the years I have known him, but especially since the tragic loss of his daughter Shannon. At a time when I know he was mostly broken, he dug in and loved his family, and leaned hard on the Lord… in every possible way. He’s one of the most supportive grandparents around too!

Danny, I am way overdue to express to you how much I appreciate the positivity and kindness you have always shown the Thieme family! You are a treasure to many!! Thank you for the terrific example of faith and the encouragement you provide to those around you– including me!