Mad for…Valerie

Persevere (verb): to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

Sunny, articulate, and discerning people like Valerie Estka are rare, and although it’s been many years since I’ve spent any time around her, I’ll admit I’ve been stalking this phenomenal woman from afar. I’ve prayed for her and cheered quietly from the cheap seats for her successes and happiness, which are much deserved.

Allow me to explain. Valerie lost her first husband, (my cousin) Joe Dykhuizen, to cancer when she was a very young mother of a toddler named Connor. As you can see from the beautiful photo above, Connor graduated from IU in 2018. Valerie is pictured here with her beautiful family, including husband Rob, son Connor, and gorgeous daughters Sophia and Lydia. I read recently “a river cuts through rock not because of it’s power but it’s persistence.” What I am trying to say is that, to me, through perseverance, Valerie turned uncertainty and suffering into a grace-filled life. I have no doubt her home has always been filled to the brim with love.

Recently, Valerie retired after a 30 year career with Dow Chemical. I hope she’s enjoying her newfound freedom. We have a few “people” in common which is how I know she’s a caring and generous mom to her 3 cuties, and I am certain she has not lost her glorious laugh or her terrific sense of humor in the time since I’ve seen her.

Today is Valerie’s birthday, and I am DECADES overdue to tell her how inspiring I think she is. Thank you, Valerie, for witnessing to me about the importance of energy, enthusiasm, and marching forward with positivity, even when discouragement invariably comes our way. I think you are inspiring and it makes me happy to see you shine! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

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