Mad for…Holly

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful. (Thich Nhat Hahh)

Smiles translate into any language perfectly. One which is genuinely offered signals compassion and a welcoming heart. It means kindness and warmth resides inside a person. Holly Ives is a woman who gives those glorious authentic smiles away to EVERYONE. To me, it’s her defining quality, and because of her authentic smile, I really believe she might be one of the most beautiful people I know.

On a day when she’s found life a little irritating, she mixes that famous smile with a little sarcasm and just the BEST laugh around. A few times over the years in the carpool line at St. Louis de Montfort, I encountered her on such an occasion. I left her cracking up in these instances, because I thought to myself how much prettier her tempter tantrums were than my own. I’d love to say she helped me adjust my sails and adopt her approach, but that would really be a lie, and since I JUST participated in the sacrament of reconciliation, I’d prefer not to sully my (still mostly) lilly white soul, ha??!!

A stubborn, slow learner is what I am, but nevertheless I find Holly very amusing and also inspiring. You see, when life brings lemons, Holly throws a little sass and smartassery at it, then she throws her head back, laughs and grins at it. As we all know, when you smile, life smiles back. When I was a kid, my favorite great aunt used to LOVE an old, eccentric comedian named Phyllis Diller. I have to admit she made me laugh too. In a few important ways, Holly reminds me of Phyllis who was famous for saying, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

The mother of two amazing, intelligent kids named Renee and David, Holly is also the wife of a quick-witted man named Erik. I’ll be honest. I have not a single clue where Holly is from originally or where she went to school. I don’t know much detail at all, which I suddenly find somewhat tragic. I do know these things. She’s a supportive and loving mother who is incredibly bright…and just plain fun to be around. When I leave her, I am always better for having had the interaction. At the end of the day, if we leave someone feeling more filled with joy than when we arrived, is that not exactly what it looks like to sprinkle a little Jesus around in this world?

Happy Birthday, Holly! I hope your people love you up today in a big way, because you are nothing short of spectacular! This Thanksgiving week, I wanted you to know that you make me feel welcome, warmed, and when I leave you, I am usually giggling a little. I am so very grateful. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE FACE OF JESUS TO ALL IN YOUR PATH!

Mad for…Carol

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. — St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta

Maybe a year or so ago, I had one of those follow-up to the follow-up type of mammogram experiences. They didn’t like the first round of photos, and they weren’t happy with the second round. The ultrasound was equally unsatisfactory. It was at that point that I ran into Carol LaReau at St. Vincent Carmel Hospital. I am related to some of the LaReau clan, but not Carol. It’s a skosh convoluted to explain to you how she’s married to a LaReau who is the brother of my brother-in-law…? I realize I should have left that last part out, because my attempt at clarifying the relationship did the opposite as I read it back. However, if one has been following me and my Mad for 2019 shenanigans, then said person has already figured out that I am a stream of consciousness blogger in this column, ha?

If anyone is still reading at this point today, then it’s time to cut to the chase. Carol works at St. Vincent and she spotted me, then she quizzed me about what I was doing. Later in the day, I got a follow up message from her. She said “I am praying that you got good news today.” How kind. Classic Carol LaReau behavior. It’s been this way in every interaction I have ever had with Carol. She oozes goodness.

Carol’s got a cheerful countenance and her voice is filled with something gentle that resembles a beautiful mix of both kindness and mercy to me. Her smile is bright, warm, and sincere. Carol is the mother of a University of Dayton graduate named Christopher and the wife of a super guy named Dan. Together, they built a beautiful family. She’s a Ball State gal if memory serves, and as a mother, Carol is incredibly supportive and loving!

That quote above? It is one of my most favorite quotes OF ALL TIMES. That’s saying something because I am a girl who loves words. Carol is all of that. Her eyes, her smile, and her face are filled with authentic kindness. She’s a blessing to those in her path. Period.

Because it is Thanksgiving week, I am working to recognize people who I think truly exemplify what it means to be grateful. In my mind, those who embody God’s kindness by the way they treat and interact with others are at the top of that list. So today, I find myself thinking of Carol and her fine example. She’s like a big slice of pumpkin pie covered with real whipped cream. THANK YOU, LORD, FOR YOUR FAITHFUL DAUGHTER CAROL. I am so grateful to know her!