Mad for…Lou

You are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

Pretty much everything I know about the great state of Texas, I learned from one Lourdes Raney! I’ve never been to the Lone Star state, but if Lou is reflective of the type of amazing humans that inhabit the place, then I definitely need to get out more…because I am for sure missing out on a whole lotta terrific!

When Lou and her husband, John and her son, John Matthew first moved to Indiana, I was drawn to this beautiful Texan with the joy-filled grin. She really is a stunning woman of God and that smile is one of her most prominent and lovliest features! Lou is full of love, and hope, and kindness. She goes out of her way for others, simply because its the good thing to do. For instance, when I moved into my new home, she brought me the most beautiful gift to bless it– honestly I had never seen anything like it before or since. From afar, it kind of looked like a random, pretty turquoise piece of decor. Nice, huh? Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was a colorful blessing, chock full of saint medals, and from the moment it arrived I felt like the place was covered in grace! She didn’t have to do that. She just did it anyway in the name of friendship. That same selflessness was displayed a few years back when I needed her help interpreting for a Spanish-speaking family I was trying to work with around Christmas, with limited success. Did I mention how useless my 6 years of French feels sometimes? Anyway, Lou’s language skills were infinitely helpful as she stepped in and she was so compassionate in service to this family. Hers was definitely the face of Jesus that holiday season!

Lou is funny, friendly and wherever she goes, whatever she does, her world is sprinkled with the flavor of faith. She’s the sort of woman who can brighten a day with her light. She deeply values her family and she is an incredibly loving mom and wife. It’s been WAY TOO LONG since I have spent any time with Lou. However, I always think of her around Halloween time, as I have some old and very sweet photos of our boys as awkward middle schoolers dressed up to go trick-or-treating that always seem to make me giggle when I spy them each fall.

Today, I felt compelled to give my shout out to an old friend! I miss you Lou!! Thanks for being sunshine to all in your path! You really are the salt of the earth!!

Mad for…Jimmy

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3: 5-6)

He’s honest, trustworthy and funny. He smiles, loves and respects his family, and doesn’t hold the mistakes of others against them. In short, Jimmy Kaiser is one of the good guys. He’s a handsome man and the father of 4 pretty terrific children– Cole, Jared, Elle and Reese– and the husband to a stunningly beautiful woman named Sara. He’s pictured above with his family.

The Kaiser family have been friends of ours since we met them at St. Louis de Montfort when our oldest children were very small. Even though our kids attended different high schools, the friendship has remained. Each Christmas, I can always count on the Kaisers to participate in whatever Christmas “adoption” idea I concoct. They are warm-hearted, generous people who care about others.

What else? Jimmy Kaiser is a faith-filled guy who can tell a story and make the whole room belly laugh with his dry, sarcastic brand of humor. He knows how to have fun and he doesn’t take life too seriously. He’s laid back and easy going. As a father, he’s involved and uber supportive. His children are blessed to have a dad like Jimmy. Also, he looks damn good in cowboy boots…just ask his bride, ha?!

Here’s something very specific I love about Jimmy. He shows up for the funeral. Anymore, that’s a bit of a rare quality. To me, it’s the sign of an exceptionally fine human being. Obviously, death is universal, something we all experience. Yet, our schedules can be crazy. However, Jimmy is a guy who seems to get it that love matters and it’s stronger than death. Walking alongside others who are hurting makes a difference. So, he shows up, sometimes driving long distances in the effort. He does this consistently. I’ve got a ton of respect for folks who go out of their way to console those who mourn. It’s beautiful, Jimmy, watching you be the face of Jesus to others as they grieve. You have a way of just being present, smiling and bringing light to the area. It calms, soothes and heals.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, but I can say with confidence when I do see him, this University of Kentucky fan will be quick with a friendly smile and a big hug. Today, I just wanted to give him a little shout out and thank Jimmy for making the world a sunnier, more positive place to inhabit! You are good people, Jimmy, and I love you, Sara and the whole darn gang!!

Look for Christ, and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else. (C.S. Lewis)