Mad for…Shelly?

Each of us is a result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Pope Benedict XVI)

Dad sent me a text this morning which confused me at first. He was asking who was going to be “Mr. Irrelevant”. It was apparently a reference to the last guy chosen in the NFL Draft each year, but even though my house TV is rarely on any channel except ESPN, I was clueless. My sweet Dad was making a comparison he obviously felt was both clever and applicable. What he wanted to know was who would be this blog’s “last draft pick”, so to speak, in my “Mad for 2019” series. That was all the nudging I needed to let my freak flag show a little bit and choose…well…myself? Here’s the thing. I cannot handle the idea that some kind soul might just actually think as Dad suggested! Nope. No dice.

There are only 365 days in a year, and I still have a working list of spectacular folks I could write about but who for whatever reason did not appear yet. I may eventually do that, as the Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways. For now, I am content to finish 2019 with a few words about the author, yours truly.

It sort of blows my mind that over 50,000 people have at one time or another stumbled across this tiny spot in the middle of the cyber mayhem this year. Here, I attempted to spend some time each day being grateful for the amazing folks in my path, and to be intentional about affirming them. It’s for the sake of these readers (I didn’t expect you all to show up) that I am going to answer a few common, personal questions I have received.

First of all, I am the wife of a handsome accountant named Tom and I spent about 10 years in corporate communications before I became a stay-at-home mom. We were high school sweethearts and this year we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Said anniversary happens to fall on the feast of one of my all-time favorite saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. I hadn’t met Trixie yet when we got married, so I consider this happy “coincidence” a grace of our unbelievably generous God. Together, we have three sons. Our oldest, Nick, will graduate from Xavier University this spring. Drew is our Boilermaker, and like his dad, he’s studying to be an accountant. The baby, Zach, is 15 and a freshman at Guerin Catholic High School. My parents are Jim and Kathy Dykhuizen, and I have one sibling…a smarty-pants, science whiz named Robin who lives in the Chicago area.

A couple folks have expressed distress over the frequent grammatical errors in this blog. I want you to know that I am, in fact, capable of writing proper sentences– I just don’t wanna. This writing space is a place I intended as a “stream of consciousness” blog. Whatever comes into my head is what appears at my fingertips. I like to think that if you know me personally, you will hear my voice in the words. I’m simply not focused on or interested in perfectly formed paragraphs here, mostly because the imperfections are what make this an accurate and authentic reflection of me. I hope that doesn’t land as self-absorbed or narcissistic. I don’t mean to disregard the norms of the English language some of you hold quite near and dear. Maybe I’m just not your cup of tea, and that’s okay. I still sincerely thank you for the time you spent following along!

One reader emailed to tell me she can tell “the Catholic thing is a big deal to me, but she wishes I’d let it go already.” How about this? The Starbucks is on me if you haven’t met Jesus yet but you’re curious?

Let’s see. Yes, I have lost some weight this year. It’s always a compliment to tell someone they look nice, and it never occurred to me to be insulted. Lots and lots of you were worried about offending me. I’m not offended. At all. Actually, I started 2019 with cancer diagnosis, which turned out to be inaccurate (thank you, God)…and I ended the year right at 100lbs lighter. None of this story is a secret and I’d be glad to chat about it with anyone who is interested. Feel free to ask.

What else? I’m proud of myself for following through and affirming someone every day this year. It’s been a worthwhile task, one which has proven quite rewarding in ways I didn’t expect. I’ll tell you more another day. For today, it feels important to me to acknowledge that in my quirky little way, I tried to shine Christ’s light this year so some of you fellow weirdos would be reminded that you are an AMAZING child of the most high God and that you matter.

It took me a long time to get to the point that I could believe those last 14 words, and I know lots of you are still struggling with it too. Let’s work on being gentle with ourselves, huh? As I head into 2020, I’m going to try and be nice to old Shelly. I mean, yes, there are many things I’d like to improve upon. Oh goodness I’ve got a long way to go to be the holy woman our good and gracious God wants me to be. However, old me has survived and persevered through some challenging stuff. However she’s failed, she’s kind of a badass in her own crazy way. I mean, I arrived at Dec. 31, 2019 in love with the Lord and enamored and overwhelmed with gratefulness for so many blessings– including you kind people who are reading now. That’s a great place to start.


In every smile there is beauty. In every heart there is love. In every mind there is wisdom. In every human being there is a soul, there is life, there is worth, and there is the ability to see all these things in everyone, including one’s self. (Marc Chernoff)

10 thoughts on “Mad for…Shelly?

  1. Mr (or rather, Mrs.) Irrelevant is my number one pick. You are amazing and the fact that you have no less than 365 people in your life that provide light of wonder and good in our world is a blessing. Best wishes for a new year of people continuing to cross your path that are just as worthy as those you honored and introduced us to in 2019.

  2. Shelly. This is G – Christina Helt’s mom. I’ve so enjoyed your journey of people in your world. Thank you for being you. You are an inspiration. Your new year will be great because you are you.

  3. You just kicked a field goal kiddo!!!
    It has ben a wonderful year reading your “Mad for 2019”.
    Those who know you, know that it sounds just like you in conversation with the ones you write about.
    I have thought all year that someone needs to write the wonderful things about you that you that you have been writing about others.
    Whether you are” Mr. Irrelevant” or not, I don’t think so, no matter what “coach” says.
    What a wonderful way to end this undertaking.
    On the defensive side, If, others don’t like what you write or how you write, they don’t have to read it.
    If it comes from your heart, that’s all that matters. You can tell it came from your heart.
    Everyone of them brought tears to my eyes, some of course more than others. They also made me recall things I have forgotten along the way of life.
    As I have said before, you have a wonderful way with words and expressing them.
    You have raised a wonderful family and I know you are so proud of them.
    I also know, humble as they are that Mom, Dad and Robin, Tom, Nick, Drew and Zach are bursting with pride ….as they should be.
    Blessings, Hugs and Love to you Shelly,
    Thank you again for the exceptional ways you showed us that “He Never Misses”
    Aunt Carolyn

  4. I’m not on social media much, but I’ve enjoyed reading some of your amazing tributes to others throughout the year! You are an amazing writer. You have been able to bring a tear to my eye at times, laugh out loud, & definitely smile when remembering so many great people you have written about, including yourself on the last day of 2019!! It’s a wonderful feeling for those to read about themselves & be reminded they are loved and appreciated by others! Thank you for sharing 2019 with all of us!

  5. You are an extraordinary talented woman and an example of Christ in all you do. I have enjoyed reading your post all year. You have made a difference in all that have followed you. My take away is be kind, thoughtful, Christ centered in all we do and others may follow your foot steps. Happy New Year! God so loves you.

  6. You look beautiful! Shelly!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You are a true inspiration. God Bless you!!
    Susan B

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