Mad for…Charlie

Last night, I briefly gave the yoga pants a respite and donned a black dress then headed out to the Somerset CPAs Christmas dinner at Maggianos with my handsome guy. The evening was positively frigid outside, but the company was lovely. I ended up spending my evening sitting next to a very friendly guy named Charlie Naber.

Outgoing and jovial are the words I would use to describe my experience with Charlie last night. He’s the husband of a completely lovely woman named Karen and the husband and grandfather of several very blessed humans.

The good-hearted ribbing and banter going on between Charlie and Karen throughout the evening made me smile. You see, his very genuine and sweet wife was eager for Charlie to enjoy his present company and NOT “talk shop” at dinner. Charlie couldn’t help himself, however. It was entertaining to watch their interaction, because despite the disagreement, one could not miss their authentic affection for one another.

Charlie and Karen Naber and one of their donkeys…in a parade? They are dressed as pirates here. I’m not sure why but this makes me smile!!

Knowing he is a Catholic guy and a long-time parishioner at St. Maria Goretti parish in Westfield, I mentioned to Charlie that I was aware of his work with the Little Sisters of the Poor and their St. Augustine Home in Indianapolis. He smiled brightly and shared that the Little Sisters have taught him a lot over the years about trusting in Providence. Charlie is quite obviously a faith-filled guy. He sits on the board of the Trinity Free Clinic as well, a phenomenal place where many uninsured folks are treated each month. It’s located on the campus of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carmel at their Merciful Help Center. He’s also got a great smile and positive energy, plus his storytelling is top notch. He’s a salt of the earth sort of man.

Charlie regaled us throughout the evening with everything from his very distinct preferences in PCs, the latest city council meeting he attended, his much adored children and grandchildren, the horses and donkeys on his 23 acre property in Boone County, and of course the aforementioned Little Sisters. I found out that some of my favorite, integrity filled friends, John and Tina Zimmerman, have known the Nabers clan for much longer than I have. It was fun to giggle at his college stories with the mutual friend he calls, “Beaner”. 

I’ll be honest, I left Charlie and was better off than before the encounter. Isn’t that what we should all strive to be for others? By the way he lives his life, it’s clear to me that Charlie Naber is a guy who is genuine, simple, and willing to be Jesus to the family and friends around him. It’s obvious to me that world is a much livelier and warmer place because of this guy, so today’s “Mad for” shout out is for Charlie! Merry Christmas to the entire Naber clan, and thanks for entertaining me last night with your sunny disposition!!

Mad for…Jesus

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)

Caravaggio’s “Nativity”

Merry Christmas, friends!! I am writing about Jesus today in my “Mad for” series because my son told me I should. Essentially, he said, “Well, you love Jesus a whole lot so I think you should talk about Him on Christmas.” Thanks for noticing, kid. Consider it done.

Bishop Robert Barron said this,
“Through the mystery of the Incarnation, God allows us to participate in the divine life, thereby elevating and sanctifying us.” I am a BIG fan of this holy man, and I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments, which are so articulately and accessibly spoken.

For a few minutes every day this year, I decided I would try in a very intentional way to be the face of Jesus to someone. I wanted to participate in that divine life the good Bishop is speaking about. Since today is all about the Lord, I thought I’d take a moment to explain and hopefully answer the question about why and how it is that I am doing this, in the hope that it spreads. The way I set it up, I gave myself 24 hours to say a kind word or two about just one person, before another 24 hour clock started. That is the way I wanted to travel for my 2019, being an intentionally grateful and affirming person. I just wanted to spread the love of Jesus a little. It seemed like a reasonable goal at the time, and I’m just a few days away now from the end of the line, so we’ll see if God’s plan is for me to finish? I’m not going to lie, I now am fairly invested and would like to finish. The thing is, life comes at us unexpectedly sometimes, so I’m not attached to that outcome. In fact, quite early in the year when I was in the hospital, I wasn’t sure it would last long at all. I was about six weeks into the project and my health situation had been challenging, now I was going to be in a hospital bed a couple days. Then I kind of giggled when I saw the date on my iphone– that day I thought I might give up was the birthday of one of the humans I most respect in all the world. I knew I’d write about him, even if from a hospital bed in drug induced, sketchy, sentence-like format from my cell phone. Do you know why? Because he was the man who helped me find Jesus at my darkest hour. I couldn’t quit on February 21. Nope. It was a sign from the Holy Spirit that I was meant to trust God and keep going forward.

I just think it’d be cool to say I completed the task. What I’ve learned along the way about human nature and also about love itself is pretty much a game changer for me. I’ll probably tell you about that after the year ends. That’s the way it is with Jesus, though. You see, for all my obvious flaws, my heart was in the right place and my aim was pure. I’ve simply been telling the stories about what I’ve experienced Jesus doing in my life through the amazing examples set by the folks around me. Telling it like I see it, the truth as I know it is my aim. Just last week, a friend who has been following along told me that when she reads my posts, she hears appealing vulnerability and joyful words about who Jesus is to us all. I said “Huh? Well good.” I’m so articulate sometimes, ha?

Here’s the truth. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:11)

Today is the day love became incarnate, people. It wows and astounds me. The God of the universe came down here and loved us in the most vulnerable, humble way imaginable. He was born in a stable and his parents were a carpenter and a teenage girl. He did this for us. It was pure love. Period. What do you say we do like Jesus and let our lives revolve around loving others? I propose we start immediately. Right now. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Day. Perfect right?! Let’s be the kindest, most welcoming version of ourselves today! That would be a grateful note on which to accept our Savior into our hearts this Christmas season.

We’re all constantly getting little love notes from the Lord in our lives. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, feel free to ask me to share about a few of mine sometime, and be prepared to hear my loud and excited voice— because I want you to recognize His voice in yours more than almost anything!! Some of us hear easier than others, but make no mistake. The God of Heaven and Earth is not just madly in love with us. He came down and humbled Himself in the form of the most vulnerable type of human being because He loves me, Shelly Thieme. And He loves YOU [insert your name here]. He knows your individual heart and He can hear even the prayer you didn’t share, but kept buried inside yourself. That critical voice, the one that says you aren’t enough? That’s NOT Him, people. Our God is compassionate and He is kind. Trusting Him is a great call, just saying.

None of us did anything to earn this life. Whatever love you have to give this year, give it lavishly and maybe even a little recklessly…just like it’s Christmas morning and you are playing the part of Santa Claus to a room full of toddlers!! Today is a joy filled day. I don’t always get it right, but really and truly I love Jesus. My heart aches a touch wishing I could somehow impart in a genuine way just how much I mean that, and what gratefulness for the grace of faith makes me desire. I want to be the woman you feel like you can call any old time without worrying about me being bugged, because you know I’ll be gracious and that I care. I’m hoping you’ll find I treat you like we’re going to spend all eternity together. If I don’t, please forgive me. Chances are solid I just need another hour of sleep or maybe a latte with too much Splenda, and I’ll be as good as new.

I’m hoping the Lord will see my effort and desire and that He’ll pour out His glorious grace on us both, while forgiving my giant mess ups– because we know I’m going to flub up. You might screw up too, but I really do hope that what remains is LOVE. Happy Birthday, Jesus! I love You, please help me love You more!

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.

Merry Christmas!