Mad for…Erin

Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.

The quote above has been attributed to numerous folks, including saints as well an American protestant pastor named Andy Stanley. Honestly, I don’t know whose words they truly are, but they do not belong to me. That said, I have long loved this sentiment and have shared it MANY times, especially to fellow moms who sometimes struggle to feel like they are contributing to the world in a meaningful way and wonder if they are enough. Ladies. Rest assured, you are much more than enough! Taken completely on it’s own, the gift of love and unconditional support you provide to your children every day is a stunning demonstration to all the world about what it means to love like Jesus!

When I happened upon my favorite quote on the Facebook page of a beautiful woman named Erin Hines today, I knew that was the Holy Spirit calling me to give this blond sassafras a shout out! I met Erin a few years back at SLDM. She’s considerably younger than I am, but we have about 100 friends in common, so I’ve noticed her for a while. Let me be clear here. It’s impossible to miss Erin. She’s got a BIG personality. She’s extroverted and demonstrative but also warm and approachable. Erin is gregarious and friendly, and extremely genuine. I love her unrestrained enthusiasm for life and I feel that it makes the entire area she inhabits feel genial and welcoming. However, I am also an extrovert…so she’s my favorite flavor!

I don’t know Erin extremely well, but I do know she’s a speech pathologist who lives in Carmel. Her husband is a super handsome guy and I don’t even know his name. The two gorgeous kids will be married with their own children and I will always and forever think of them as “Jojo and Tater the Tot” because that is what she called them every time I was around her at St. Louis de Montfort. She loves those two children with a fierceness and passion that I really do find inspiring to witness. That’s why it felt fitting to me today when I saw one of my all-time favorite quotes posted on her page. I thought, yep, that’s exactly right!! Erin’s devotion to the Lord is made clear by the way she loves others…starting with the ones who live under her own roof. THAT, my dear friends, is a glorious thing to behold!!

Merry Christmas you beautiful, character-filled woman! I am grateful to you, Erin, for your shiny smile, positive vibe, and the lovely heart you’ve always got on display! The world is most definitely a better place because you are in it!!

Mad for…Rich

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are. (Ara Parseghian)

Late last night, we had a family room full of sports lovers and we were watching the IU men’s basketball team pick up an overtime win against Nebraska. The group gathered here included my three sons, my husband, and some close friends we adore. The conversation turned to youth sports experiences– and it led us to a nostalgic chat about a fantastic coach named Rich Andriole.

When our oldest son Nick was in the second grade, so too was a another sweet boy named Nick Andriole. We had invited the sports-loving boys from St. Louis de Montfort to play on a hoops team over at the Fieldhouse in Fishers. We ended up with too many for just one team so we needed to recruit another Dad to coach up the little guys when we determined we had enough Cardinals for two squads. I can’t remember who it was that told me Nick Andriole’s Dad (who I hadn’t yet met in person) was a high school coach, but that was enough to get my attention, and I quickly snagged him for the job. We became great friends with Rich and his wife, Janet and our children grew up alongside each other. Still today, their three kids, Nick, Jake, and Allison are some of my favorite humans too!

That said, I still giggle thinking back to that Fieldhouse experience. You see, when one looks back now with the full understanding of what an UBER competitive human Rich Andriole is, it’s simply impossible to forget 8-year old Evan Brueggemann on the end of the bench eating his king sized candy bar and drinking his Gatorade mid-game with Coach Andriole at the helm, ha?!

Passionate, articulate and compeititve, Rich is the sort of coach who sees the potential in kids and inspires them to work hard to live up to it. He’s retired now from coaching high school baseball where he had well over 500 wins and multiple state championships. He’s got former players who have succeeded at the highest levels of college and also major league baseball, but more importantly, SO MANY young men he coached grew up to be husbands, fathers and men of integrity, guided in part by he lessons he taught them.

Last night, my husband and two oldest sons along with our family room full of folks were talking about their experiences in a gym and on baseball field with Coach Andriole. They were sharing with the two young guys in the room about how much he made them want to work hard, and how meaningful it was to play ball for him because the whole team achieved above and beyond what they expected in every season where he was their leader. They talked about how my friend Rich helped them see someone else’s strength as a complement to their weakness and an asset to the team.

Rich is gifted at leadership development. He’s a phenomenal speaker and articulate story-teller who knows how to inspire young people. In his “new-ish” role in the corporate world, I have no doubt at all that his unique talents and skill set are an incredible asset. After all, great athletes and young professionals have something vital in common– they can all use a trusted advisor to help them reach their goals.

Many times over the years when life got a little rocky for me or for someone I love, I’d get an encouraging text from Rich letting me know he was praying. We all need every prayer warrior we can get on our team in life, am I right? The guy knows what victory is all about, and today I wanted to give him a shout out and let him know that in this next chapter of his life, I wish him nothing but the absolute best. This moment is yours, my friend. Please know I pray for you often and I love you, my friend. Merry Christmas!!

“Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” (Bill Bowerman)