Mad for…Debbie

Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, whatever Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God. St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta

This week, as I frequently do, I missed a birthday! So, today’s birthday shoutout for Debbie Thieme is I think 2 days late in arriving. Debbie might not know this about me, but I am BIG on birthdays and therefore a fan of the month-long festival approach to celebration anyway, so I am choosing not to let my tardiness deter me here, ha!!

Kind-hearted, friendly, and affirming, Debbie is a woman with a big heart. After his (amazing) wife Kathy passed away, my husband’s cousin, John Thieme, met and married Debbie. Together, the two of them raised 6 children in a big, beautiful blended family where they made a priority of seeing to the needs of those young people before their own. My respect for her is profound, and I am not just a little ashamed that I have failed to say so until this moment. I chose the quote above to honor Debbie because the quality of her character shines so brightly for me in the intensity of her love– not unlike one of my favorite saints, Mother Teresa. In her, therefore, I believe the Lord has done great things. John and Debbie Thieme are pictured above!

My husband has this very large extended family. He’s the youngest of I think 19 grandchildren. Therefore, it’s not unusual to miss the opportunity to speak to someone. There are just a lot of folks around! Whenever I run into Debbie at family events, though, my experience is very similar to the one I had last weekend when we all gathered to celebrate the 80th birthday of my father-in-law, Tom, and his twin sister, Josephine. Debbie always makes a point to say hello and engage me in conversation. She leaves me feeling like she is genuinely interested in whatever I have to say, and she often shares with me the love and affection she has for her children when I ask her for the latest and greatest updates. She’s not the kind of woman who has made a god of power, or wealth, or many of the other small “g” gods that seem to trip so many of us up. I find her authentically charming, refreshingly honest, and the owner of a beautiful soul.

Debbie, I hope your birthday was half as terrific as you are! I wish you a spectacular year ahead filled with laughter and love! You are the real deal.

Mad for…Bill

A man of prayer is capable of everything. (St. Vincent De Paul)

Bill Godfrey is a good man. It’s that simple really.

A couple years back, my husband Tom and I found ourselves killing time again in Vincennes, Indiana. Once you have seen the George Rogers Clark National Monument, visited the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, and eaten at Bobe’s Pizza…well…I’d argue that you’ve done all you can do to kill time between basketball tournament games in this neck of the woods. Therefore, we decided to just call it an afternoon and we headed to grab a beer at the restaurant nearest to our hotel. If memory serves, I think it was a pub called Gilberts?

When we wandered in, we could hear the laughter of Jen Osborn, who was seated in the bar with Caroline and Bill Godfrey. They were waiting on the same high school basketball tournament games to resume as we were. We all had kids playing for the Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles who were in a holiday tournament down in Knox County that weekend. They immediately waived us over and we began regaling each other with the misdeeds of our (nearly) grown children. I find myself smiling even as I type the memory here on today’s post, because those three joy-filled people really had me giggling. Raising teenagers can be entertaining, to say the least! Though I had met him several times before, that was the day that the picture of Bill Godfrey became much clearer in my mind. I already knew that he was an incredibly bright and successful man, but the quality of his character and his deep faithfulness were impossible to miss that day. Not only that, but his self-deprecating sense of humor and quick wit drew me in.

Authentic, funny, faith-filled men like Bill Godfrey are rare gems. When you add to that his likeability and integrity, well…it’s just the most estimable combination I can imagine to be candid.

I’ve been reluctant to write about Bill here because the truth is, I don’t know him that well. However, we have many friends in common and this week I spoke to a couple of those folks about him to make sure my little shout out today is a proper reflection of the man they know him to be. To a person, each of them said essentially the same thing as the first person I quizzed who said, “He’s one of the finest, most generous men I have ever known.” Wow. High praise, indeed.

Bill is an incredibly successful businessman. You can google him and find out much more than this stay-at-home mom ever wanted to know about the tech industry. I’ll be honest, I don’t really care so much about that. The fact that Bill is a very involved and supportive father of four and the husband of an incredibly holy woman I have great affection for is much more meaningful for my purposes here. I’ve been watching from nearby as he journeys alongside his wife through her health struggles. I notice his attentiveness, tenderness and faithfulness to the Lord, and I find it, and him quite inspiring. In my own life this year I have taken a cue from his example and tried to remember these words from 1 Corinthians, which I think speak to what Bill is about. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

Thanks, Bill, for being a great and inspiring reminder to me that positivity, a broad smile, and trust in the Lord is always the right road to travel– no matter the circumstances! My prayers continue for all the Godfreys!!