A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life and those who fear the Lord will find them. (Sir. 6: 14-16)
Someone brilliant explained to me once that the Jesus girls and weirdos who put up with my quirks, not begrudgingly, but with smiles that say “me too” are actually my tribe. Those folks, she said, are the people God sent into your life. Hold on to them fiercely. I replied simply, “Yep. That rings with truth.”
My friend, Julie Ferrucci, (above on far left) is among the “elite” class of weirdos who I count among my most dear friends on planet earth. She’s without a doubt one of my most valued people. Selfless, creative, intelligent and loving, Julie is the mother of three incredible sons and the wife of a pretty solid guy named Steve. She’s an Indianapolis native who attended Bishop Chatard High School before getting her art degree at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Thank you, God for sending me this talented, thoughtful woman as a friend! That’s a very real prayer I say aloud while looking towards the sky… ALL THE TIME. I’m fairly solid in the area of communication skills, so I can throw together an event and rally folks around an idea, but aesthetically speaking, I am a major disaster area. That’s where Julie comes in! The poor woman has saved me from myself on color choices, centerpieces, décor, and accessorizing for most of my adult life, ha? I’m minimizing her giftedness here. She’s a very talented artist! Her paintings are filled with light and the love of the Lord.
What makes Julie truly stand out is the gentle, holy way she loves the others in her life. As a mother, she is supportive and wise beyond all telling. She loves Vincent, Dominic and Anthony with a graceful fierceness, and she prays for them steadfastly. Our Blessed Mother and the spirit of her beautiful “yes” to the Lord is very alive to me through my dear friend Julie. Jules, I am truly thankful to you for your example of faithfulness. In my life, you are a spiritual guide post.
What else? Julie is affirming and grateful, and she has a glorious laugh! She’s helped me with my children and my life too many times to count. She’s the friend who doesn’t judge my parenting skills and instead just loves up my goofy youngest kid by serving him chicken nuggets instead. She gets it when we can’t meet for dinner until later because someone has practice or because the Thiemes are obsessed with the Boilermakers and they have a game that day. She knows I want my sons at church on Sunday, so she’d always make sure to let me know when our kids had a sleepover at the Ferruccis that she’d give my kid back after 9am mass. She writes me notes filled with lies about my awesomeness so well that I almost believe her. I love them, so I save most of them to re-read on days when I have forgotten that I am in fact the beloved daughter of our good and gracious God.
Julie is funny, and she has a beautiful, genuine smile that lights up the room. She shares it with us the majority of the time, but not when Chatard is losing to Cathedral. That’s when her inner “Nula” lets loose. Haha!! If you never met Julie’s mom, Nula, then you’ll have to trust me when I tell you the woman was competitive and she minced exactly ZERO words. Julie is a sports lover who grew up in a household with 3 brothers, so the Lord prepared her in advance for the Boston College, Rex Sox loving crazies who would be her future family. She embraces the chaos, the baseball, football, basketball…heck even the hockey and the excessive use of ESPN!
My dear friend, as we celebrate your birthday today, I want you to know without a doubt that I love you. You are a treasure beyond words in my life. This is why I keep disturbing you, texting you 50 times in a row when I know you don’t even check your phone like a normal person. It’s because I never want you to be lonely! HA! Thanks for loving me despite the fact that I don’t know how to whisper and can’t ever find the school calendar. I’m never letting you go. Sorry for your luck. I love you. SO MUCH. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!