Mad for…JoEllen

People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)

July 17, 2019– Did you ever meet someone and just immediately think to yourself how much you like them? For me, that was the case with JoEllen Simmons, who as I recall is a native of Wheatfield, Indiana. She’s the mom to triplets, Tavic, Tanner and Avery and the wife of Mike. They are pictured with her, above.

The Simmons family is one we know from our baseball years. Drew played on Carmel teams in the summertime with Tavic and Tanner, and very often I sat right next to JoEllen at those games. Why? Well, first of all, just like me she was interested in sitting near the action behind home plate. Many games, her son Tavic was pitching to her other son Tanner. So, I suppose she wanted the best view of them doing their thing. More importantly, JoEllen always made me feel welcome.

Most of the boys on those Carmel teams over the years that both my older sons played on were comprised, unsurprisingly, of young men who went to school together in the Carmel school system. Ours were Catholic school kids, so we were always hunting for the smiling “we’ve got room for you here” kind of folks who welcomed us in. That was ALWAYS JoEllen. She’s got the gift of hospitality. In today’s hurting culture, that gift is more valuable than ever and a very useful and godly witness to those around her.

JoEllen is a generous, compassionate and affirming person. I never told her how much her kindness and hospitality meant to our little family of “outsiders”. She offered us space, welcomed us in, and shoved bottles of water at our kid when he looked pathetically dehydrated and we weren’t there to look after him ourselves because we had 3 games at the same time and we were chasing our tails! She’s a jewel, and today is her birthday. I am WAY past overdue to thank JoEllen for the gift of kindness she gives to others, and the hospitality she always showed to me at those endless summer baseball games. I read somewhere that hospitality is simply love on the loose. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t really remember what she ever said to me, I just remember her smile and how it ALWAYS made me feel like I was welcome to plop down my chair behind home plate next to her. YOU ARE A FANTASTIC HUMAN, JOELLEN!! The world could use a lot more folks just like you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOELLEN!! We hope your crew celebrates your awesomeness in a big way today!

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