About HeNeverMisses

Shelly Thieme is a writer from Carmel, Indiana, a self professed "Jesus gal" and cradle Catholic who spent 10 years as a corporate communications director before deciding to stay home with her children. She and her husband have 3 boys. You can follow her on Twitter at @shellythieme or at HeNeverMisses.wordpress.com.

Mad for…Rachel

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. (Leo Buscaglia)

She is, by her nature, kind and gracious to those around her. I admire people like Rachel Folstrom. Ever since she was a very little girl, a grade school classmate of my oldest son, it was hard not to notice how she spreads sunshine into the lives of others. She is genuinely joyful and her smile is infectious! If it’s true that showering kindness on others has a positive effect on us, then this young woman is surely destined for a very long, healthy and happy life!

A senior at Indiana University, Rachel is an education major. This is why I chose the quote above to honor her today on her birthday. There are classrooms full of children who will be blessed for many years to come with her leading them as their teacher! She’s the real deal, the sort of person who is good to others for no reason at all. It might be how she was raised, because this young lady has AMAZING parents. Rachel is the daughter of Jim and Jill Folstrom, both awesome and thoughtful people. She has a younger (very handsome) brother named Jacob. She attended St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School and then Guerin Catholic High School with my son, Nick.

I admit to having a soft spot for all those graduating from college this school year. These are the young people who grew up alongside my oldest, so I have learned much about parenting, faithfulness, and just…well…life lessons galore from these humans on the verge of “adulting”. Rachel is a friendly, intelligent young woman who gives me hope for our collective futures. She’s kind, genuine, good-hearted, open-minded and she loves the Lord. She knows how to laugh, and she’s incredibly beautiful!

Rachel, today on your birthday I wanted to just wish you well and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, kiddo! You are certainly a young woman who helps me to believe in the goodness of people by the way you love those around you and how you live your life. Good luck finishing up your college experience. I hope you enjoy every second! Keep shining, sweet girl!!

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)

Mad for…Debbie

Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, whatever Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God. St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta

This week, as I frequently do, I missed a birthday! So, today’s birthday shoutout for Debbie Thieme is I think 2 days late in arriving. Debbie might not know this about me, but I am BIG on birthdays and therefore a fan of the month-long festival approach to celebration anyway, so I am choosing not to let my tardiness deter me here, ha!!

Kind-hearted, friendly, and affirming, Debbie is a woman with a big heart. After his (amazing) wife Kathy passed away, my husband’s cousin, John Thieme, met and married Debbie. Together, the two of them raised 6 children in a big, beautiful blended family where they made a priority of seeing to the needs of those young people before their own. My respect for her is profound, and I am not just a little ashamed that I have failed to say so until this moment. I chose the quote above to honor Debbie because the quality of her character shines so brightly for me in the intensity of her love– not unlike one of my favorite saints, Mother Teresa. In her, therefore, I believe the Lord has done great things. John and Debbie Thieme are pictured above!

My husband has this very large extended family. He’s the youngest of I think 19 grandchildren. Therefore, it’s not unusual to miss the opportunity to speak to someone. There are just a lot of folks around! Whenever I run into Debbie at family events, though, my experience is very similar to the one I had last weekend when we all gathered to celebrate the 80th birthday of my father-in-law, Tom, and his twin sister, Josephine. Debbie always makes a point to say hello and engage me in conversation. She leaves me feeling like she is genuinely interested in whatever I have to say, and she often shares with me the love and affection she has for her children when I ask her for the latest and greatest updates. She’s not the kind of woman who has made a god of power, or wealth, or many of the other small “g” gods that seem to trip so many of us up. I find her authentically charming, refreshingly honest, and the owner of a beautiful soul.

Debbie, I hope your birthday was half as terrific as you are! I wish you a spectacular year ahead filled with laughter and love! You are the real deal.

Mad for…Bill

A man of prayer is capable of everything. (St. Vincent De Paul)

Bill Godfrey is a good man. It’s that simple really.

A couple years back, my husband Tom and I found ourselves killing time again in Vincennes, Indiana. Once you have seen the George Rogers Clark National Monument, visited the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, and eaten at Bobe’s Pizza…well…I’d argue that you’ve done all you can do to kill time between basketball tournament games in this neck of the woods. Therefore, we decided to just call it an afternoon and we headed to grab a beer at the restaurant nearest to our hotel. If memory serves, I think it was a pub called Gilberts?

When we wandered in, we could hear the laughter of Jen Osborn, who was seated in the bar with Caroline and Bill Godfrey. They were waiting on the same high school basketball tournament games to resume as we were. We all had kids playing for the Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles who were in a holiday tournament down in Knox County that weekend. They immediately waived us over and we began regaling each other with the misdeeds of our (nearly) grown children. I find myself smiling even as I type the memory here on today’s post, because those three joy-filled people really had me giggling. Raising teenagers can be entertaining, to say the least! Though I had met him several times before, that was the day that the picture of Bill Godfrey became much clearer in my mind. I already knew that he was an incredibly bright and successful man, but the quality of his character and his deep faithfulness were impossible to miss that day. Not only that, but his self-deprecating sense of humor and quick wit drew me in.

Authentic, funny, faith-filled men like Bill Godfrey are rare gems. When you add to that his likeability and integrity, well…it’s just the most estimable combination I can imagine to be candid.

I’ve been reluctant to write about Bill here because the truth is, I don’t know him that well. However, we have many friends in common and this week I spoke to a couple of those folks about him to make sure my little shout out today is a proper reflection of the man they know him to be. To a person, each of them said essentially the same thing as the first person I quizzed who said, “He’s one of the finest, most generous men I have ever known.” Wow. High praise, indeed.

Bill is an incredibly successful businessman. You can google him and find out much more than this stay-at-home mom ever wanted to know about the tech industry. I’ll be honest, I don’t really care so much about that. The fact that Bill is a very involved and supportive father of four and the husband of an incredibly holy woman I have great affection for is much more meaningful for my purposes here. I’ve been watching from nearby as he journeys alongside his wife through her health struggles. I notice his attentiveness, tenderness and faithfulness to the Lord, and I find it, and him quite inspiring. In my own life this year I have taken a cue from his example and tried to remember these words from 1 Corinthians, which I think speak to what Bill is about. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

Thanks, Bill, for being a great and inspiring reminder to me that positivity, a broad smile, and trust in the Lord is always the right road to travel– no matter the circumstances! My prayers continue for all the Godfreys!!

Mad for…Megan

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. (Helen Keller)

One of the great blessings of the “growing up” years of my sons was undoubtedly the friendships we made with other families around us who were in the same season of life. This most certainly includes the Mattei family, who lived around the corner and whose four remarkable children we enjoyed so very much. Steve and Julia are some of the finest parents around and their four children include three sons (Michael, Jack and Joey) along with one daughter, Megan, about whom I am writing today, on this her 20th birthday!

Megan is exactly one week older than my son, Drew, and they were classmates at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School in Fishers for a decade. As a little girl, Megan was joyful, polite, sunny and genuine. She always had a way of making my uber stoic middle son giggle despite himself. In fact, one of my favorite snapshots from his childhood is this one, below. She was quite dissatisfied with how he was wearing his life vest and was determined to get him squared away. When I look at this old picture, seeing her smile and his, I can still hear their giggling.

These days, Megan is a student at Indiana University and Drew is at Purdue. When I recently received a photo of the two of them together– at a chance meeting at a casino in Canada– I had to smile again. You see, the thoughtful Miss Mattei knew that her mom and I would get a kick out of the fact that these two old friends both happened to be at the same spot at the same time for their own respective fraternity and sorority events. What were the odds? I would include that photo here too if it wasn’t a little too dark and grainy. Since it is, it simply doesn’t do her justice. I’ve chosen a better one so you can all see just how absolutely beautiful our birthday girl is! She’s pictured her on campus with her dog, Rocky.

Isn’t she gorgeous, you guys?? There is a cheerfulness and buoyancy of attitude that to me has always made Megan a favorite of mine. She has great personal charm, and she’s incredibly bright. She’s witty, courteous, articulate and best of all…she’s kind. Also, her laugh is the best, and we all know life is better when we’re laughing. The world is simply brighter and better with her in it!!

Today, on your birthday, Megan, I hope you ate something covered in icing and were loved up in a BIG way because your amazing life should absolutely be celebrated festival style! We Thiemes don’t get to see you as often as we did when you were small, but we all think you are someone pretty wonderful. So, from the bottom of my heart back home in Carmel, please know I wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEGAN!! This little shout out is my way of sending you our hugs and love on your day. Keep doing you, sweet girl…because you are a giant scoop of awesome.

Mad for…Jennifer

In everything, give thanks. (1 Thess 5:18)

As we begin the month of November, I find myself filled with gratitude for many things, mostly people around me who show me the light of Christ by the way they live their lives. Today, I want to give a shout out to one such woman.

A year ago perhaps, I found myself in the carpool line at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School, just as I had been nearly every week day for 16 years straight. I had gone inside the church to say hello to Jesus, and when I came out to try and remember where I had parked my Durango, there was the very genial, Jennifer. We began to quiz each other about our children, as moms will do. The details of the conversation elude me to be honest, but I just remember leaving her thinking how authentic and lovely she is…and how deeply she loves her two daughters. I already knew her uber friendly girl, Avery, because she and my son, Zach, were in the same class at SLDM. Her much younger daughter, Grace, I knew less well. She’s pictured with her girls, above. When I left Jennifer that day, it felt like a blessing in my week. Some folks just always seem to leave us a little more joyful than they found us– that’s this gal!

Genuine, friendly and kind are the adjectives I choose to describe Jennifer Layden. She’s also just sunny, witty, and incredibly beautiful. I think she’s a local who grew up in Carmel, maybe? Also, she’s a Xavier University grad, so we’ve bonded a little over our Muskie connection since my oldest son is a senior Finance major there! Her husband is a handsome guy named Dan who I am not sure I have ever officially met. She’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan, for reasons unknown to myself?

Here’s what else I know for sure. Jennifer has a warm, kind heart. Her social media posts attract my notice for their consistent positivity. She’s incredibly supportive as a mom, a fact I know from all the events she attends all the times she raises her hands to help others around her. I don’t know her as well as I’d like, but I’d bet she’s the sort of gal who watches the Hallmark Christmas movies, ha? Her heart is of the soft and mushy variety, the kind that reminds me of marshmallows. I mean that as a profound compliment.

Many months after our talk in the carpool line, a chat I had long forgotten, Jennifer found me again. She reminded me that I had encouraged her to pursue a desire that was gnawing on her heart in a way she hadn’t previously considered…and that she followed my advice! She made a point to find me because she wanted to say thank you. To be candid, I feel like any contribution I made in the matter was extremely small, however her intentional act of gratitude made it’s mark on me. You see, I am hard on myself. Often, I chastise myself for the little failures, and rarely do I remember to be gentle with myself and notice the goodness– that day particularly so. God used her to help me correct course, judge myself less harshly. Her example of a simple “hey, thank you for listening and weighing in– it helped” reminded me ONCE AGAIN how truly important it is that we notice and acknowledge the goodness of those around us and that in ourselves.

When the Holy Spirit whispers, “say thank you” or “be kind” or “listen carefully”…it’s likely the Lord giving us a chance to be His hands or His face to another. Jennifer Layden is a lovely example of a wife and mother who seems to intuitively grasp that. Today, I just wanted to say I SEE YOU, JENNIFER. Well done.

The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. (Henri Nouwen)