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…Mrs. Mason

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. (Benjamin Franklin)

As high school students go, I was solid academically speaking. That said, science was definitely not my forte. I managed, but it was purely my work ethic that helped me through the very tough chemistry class of one Mrs. Patricia Mason during my days at Lafayette Central Catholic. She was a graceful woman and a terrific teacher with striking eyes and a sharp wit.

I realize that I am now 48 years old, but I can’t bring myself to call her by her first name all these years later. She will always be Mrs. Mason, I suppose. Mrs. Mason was an inspiring teacher, mainly because she was so genuinely interested in her subject matter. She was more about assisting us in discovering the world of science than she was imposing her will, as lesser educators sometimes will do. I remember her as kind, inspiring, and intelligent– and in that order too! She’s one of the folks during my school years whose lessons stayed with me, because her influence simply cannot be erased. She was patient but firm, and that combination was especially effective for me. I’m not going to lie, though. Chemistry was hard. The thing is, the degree of difficulty was high, yet nevertheless, I truly feel Mrs. Mason left the community at large a whole lot better than she found it.

In recent years, I have been following her life from afar via social media. It appears to me that she is enjoying her retirement quite a bit, and I’d be willing to bet she’s a beloved mother and grandma. She’s also making me want to visit Anguilla, ha?! Mrs. Mason is a Boilermaker fan as well as a woman of faith. If you know me at all, you’ll recognize those as two qualities I hold near and dear.

A couple years back, I was lamenting (well, whining really) about my son’s science fair predicament. It was my old high school chemistry teacher who noticed my post and sent me several challenging but fun ideas for him. I’ll be honest…I was ALL OUT of creativity by the time the last of my sons hit science fair age!! She couldn’t help herself. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I suppose. How thoughtful, am I right?

As I finish off my year of daily affirmations and gratefulness, it seemed important to me to acknowledge some of the great educators who have made a difference for others. I am a fairly prolific reader, and it was this quote (written by Lowell Milken) from this afternoon which had me searching my mind for the great teachers I have encountered so that I could choose one to honor today. “Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions– the indispensable element, the sunlight and oxygen, the foundation on which everything else is built.”

She was the sunlight and the oxygen, indeed! Thank you for spending your professional life making a difference for young people, Mrs. Mason. I know I speak for many when I say most sincerely that I’M GRATEFUL!! Happy New Year to you and your entire family!!

Mad for…Stacey

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

I’m pretty sure she told me once she was a Boilermaker like yours truly, but I’ll be honest and admit that I could be making that up. Sometimes I just WANT all the cool people to be Purdue grads, ha? In any case, Stacey Wilt is a beautiful soul and a mom to three! I’ll admit I am writing about her today because I saw this great quote and it made me think of her. “Special needs parents are the equivalent of Batman, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk combined with a side of Mary Poppins.” I have not a clue who said it, but it’s SPOT ON from my vantage point.

I’ll be totally candid now as I acknowledge that until recently, I knew Stacey only through Guerin Catholic High School sports, and therefore the only child I was aware of is her oldest, a handsome and athletic kid named Spencer. We’ve seen each other a few more times this fall, and it turns out she has two gorgeous girls as well– Mac and Ellie. Ellie is a freshman like my youngest son (Zach) so I suppose I have three and a half years to get to know Stacey a bit better. That’s fine with me.

Stacey has eyes that sparkle, she’s the sort of woman who I’d bet can smile right through trouble. I think of her as someone who warms and cheers the rest of us in her path. She’s got magnetic laughter going for her and a natural joyfulness that makes her sort of irresistible! Positivity, and a happy heart are her calling cards. She doesn’t overlook anyone. I can’t tell you how attractive that quality is in humans. I once read a sure sign of wisdom is a cheerful temperament, and if that’s true, then I need to stay a little closer to Stacey, because I can use to soak up all the wisdom she can impart! She’s authentic, amiable, and flat out charming. I really do credit her cheerful frame of mind. Gratefulness and warmth are the vibe she gives off when I run into her– whether it’s at GCHS or even when I run into her eating chicken wings at BW3 with her family!

It’s clear as a bell that Stacey is a supportive and loving mom to her three cuties, and that she knows how to enjoy her life and laugh through it! I’d bet that all the important people in her orbit are well aware that she is crazy about them too, because she strikes me as a woman who loves people just a little recklessly…and those are my favorite kind of people.

I’ve got not a clue when Stacey’s birthday is, but since the year is literally almost over, I’d wager I missed it. The thing is, even though birthdays are the only days we officially are called to celebrate folks just because they are…well I’m calling a special exception today. You see, Stacey is a woman who makes bad days more bearable for others. I know because I asked a couple of her people. They also said she is filled with faith. This is not a shocker. So. Today is a random Sunday and I am choosing to celebrate Stacey! Why the heck not?! I’ve even got a silly little something for her to show her a little of that same attention and affection that I hear she sprinkles all around her constantly. Why? Because I wanna!!

I have declared today STACEY WILT DAY! Three cheers for you, Stacey!! The very next time I see you, well…I’m coming with a tiny little surprise. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Wilt clan!

Mad for…Jill

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf; be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:20)

When I was a girl, I spent a considerable amount of time with the Vanderkleed family. Stan and Nancy were long time friends of my parents and they had two daughters– Jill and Erin. Since this week (yesterday, actually) Jill celebrated her birthday, I thought now would be an excellent time to celebrate what makes her a spectacular human! We all know that I am sometimes a day or two late with my greetings, but hopefully I’ve demonstrated by now that if there’s anything I believe in, it’s the festival approach to such celebrations!

Even as a little girl, Jill had an incredibly infectious laugh. Her giggling radiated the entire area, as did her smile. Her eyes sparkled too! This has not changed a bit! Now, she’s a mother of three and the wife of a tall, handsome guy named Tony Hardebeck. Many years (decades actually) have passed since those afternoons we shared sledding down that steep hill behind Stan and Nan’s house in the country, and I can still hear the sound of Jill shrieking in delight! It really is one of the defining sounds of my childhood. She is a joyful human! As one of my favorite authors, Bob Goff, says, “Where joy is a habit, love is a reflex.” I couldn’t agree more!!

Our lives are full of actions we repeat over and over. These rituals become habitual and that must be the reason why even though my sons are no longer attending St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School, I sometimes find myself accidentally heading that direction in the afternoons when I go out- it’s a habit I built over 16 years. That was Goff’s whole point. The thing is, he meant it as it relates to things like finding the joyfulness in life like Jill does! It’s a wonderful habit she’s spent a lifetime perfecting!!

It doesn’t matter how much time passes, when I run into Jill, I know I can count on a dose of her cheerfulness and warmth! Also, chances are excellent there will be top notch baked goods– the woman can bake circles around every other human being I have ever encountered.

Jill is a social creature who lights up the area she inhabits with her bright smile. What a blessing she is to her kiddos, parents, sister…and a whole lot of other folks who inhabit her life! She’s a woman who helps out where she sees a need because it’s the right thing to do– a woman of character. It seems to me like it’s her way of witnessing to all of us what it looks like to live a grateful life. It’s beautiful, actually.

Happy Birthday Week, Jill (Vanderkleed) Hardebeck! How cool it is that you share your birthday week with the Prince of Peace? Very! I hope your day was as awesome as you are, my beautiful friend!! Also, Happy New Year to you and the entire family.

Mad for…John

Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now. (St. Teresa of Avila)

My handsome husband, Tom, has this large extended family. In fact, he’s the youngest of 19 grandchildren born to Fred and Josephine Thieme. There are so many terrific human beings in that group of folks, and today is the birthday of another sharp looking, lake-loving Thieme guy– John Thieme. He’s the son of the late John and Carol Thieme of Lafayette and also like my husband, Tom’s cousin, John, is an accountant by trade.

Welcoming, amiable and kind, John is quick to offer a smile and a friendly word to all. After his beautiful wife Kathy passed away, leaving him a single dad to four young children, John met and married a lovely woman named Debbie. Together, the two of them raised 6 children in a big, faith-filled blended family where they made it their job to see to the needs of those young people. My respect for them both is immense. They are both supportive as parents and incredibly loving. Also, they are now grandparents! I’m not sure how quickly those numbers are expanding, but I suspect John will have MANY grandchildren in fairly short order. He’s pictured above with his granddaughter, Kathryn Ghazarian, who lives in California. Isn’t that just the sweetest shot of the two of them together?

There’s something about me that draws me to people who are genuine- they have a magnetic quality. To me, men like John are warriors in this world, because folks who do good because it’s the right thing to do, who are brave enough to take responsibility…those are the real badasses in my book. John is a salt of the earth sort of man. He works hard, and also knows how to laugh over a few beers. He’s authentic in every way possible and seems honestly interested when you speak to him. He’s a helper. John Thieme is a man who does and says the things he actually believes. There’s nothing showy or arrogant about John. He’s a likable man of integrity. Period. End of sentence.

Today is John’s birthday, so I just wanted to give him a little shout out. His positivity and sunny smile make the world a brighter place. I hope your day has been a great one, John, because you deserve the special treatment! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN THIEME!

Mad for…Kathy

How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it. (George Elliston)

This morning as we travel to my hometown to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family, it’s impossible to miss the glorious, unseasonably warm winter day. It’s not often that it’s 61 degrees on December 26th! Nostalgia sometimes overtakes me, and I suppose that’s why I have the winters of my youth on my mind as we make the drive an hour north to Lafayette. The winter I frequently remember for it’s remarkable blizzard when I was a little girl happened in the winter of 1978. It always makes me think of my old friend, Kathy (Hunckler) Cahoon.

Goodness, that winter looked a whole lot different than today does!! That fateful day when the incredible snow storm took us all by surprise, my kind and beautiful friend Kathy had come to stay for a sleepover. She ended up staying quite a bit longer than she expected— there was no one going anywhere that week! I can’t recall exactly how we filled our time, but I remember Kathy and her famous pigtails, joyfulness and that we had a ball! She always had a wide grin and a positive attitude. In grade school at St. Lawrence, my memories of Kathy include her goodness, and also I recall her being incredibly bright!

We ended up attending Lafayette Central Catholic together, and then we kind of headed separate ways and I lost track of her a bit. In more recent years, I caught back up with her through a few conversations with her brother Paul as well as happen chance sightings at Guerin Catholic vs. LCC sporting events. For instance, we ran into Kathy tailgating at GCHS when our son was playing football for GC and her daughter was on the LCC team, and I was instantly reminded of her natural warmth and welcoming spirit! She spotted me and I was wrapped up in her big hug and greeted by her authentic, joyful smile!

I have no doubt that Kathy’s children and her husband, Chad, have a supportive, loving and truly thoughtful woman in their midst every day. It’s simply who she has always been!

Today, I find myself wanting Kathy to know that she was a special friend to me because of the way she always made me feel like I mattered. Her authenticity and generosity of spirit made a difference. I would bet it still does for everyone with whom she interacts. Kathy is just a salt of the earth sort of human who laughs easily and smiles big. Our world needs as many folks like her as we can get. Merry Christmas to you, Kathy…and to your entire family!

Mad for…Roger

May we be in this world a ray of that light which shone forth from Bethlehem, bringing joy and peace to all men and women. (Pope Francis)

In my volunteer role on the Gospel of Life council at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church, I perform all sorts of non-glamorous tasks. Most of them seem to involve logistics work— like organizing data, writing copy, or making phone calls. It was in this capacity that I first heard the name Roger Helmkamp. You see, OLMC was teaming up with nearby St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish to bring in a speaker for a couple of days to talk to folks about mindfulness. It was a joint attempt to help folks work on their mental health and anxiety issues in a meaningful way, with their faith at the center of the effort. My initial interactions revealed quickly that Roger is a friendly, good-hearted man with an excellent sense of humor. Also, he’s totally on the ball.

A few weeks later, I met Roger in person for the first time. He was present, attending to the needs of family and friends for the showing and funeral mass of my very dear friend, Karen Volpe. During a difficult and emotional couple of days, there was Roger making sure everything went off thoughtfully and without a hitch.

When I ran into this amiable, handsome guy at my nearby Kroger a few weeks ago, he went out of his way to say hello and re-introduce himself. He was out of context and it took me a moment to register his face, but it came to me quickly as he began to speak.

As I began to think this morning about who I wanted to write about today, I decided it would be fitting to write about a man who spends his days working for the rest of us, helping us on our journey to know and love the Lord a little better. I am not sure how many folks realize the hours and effort it takes to pull off Advent and Christmas in a Catholic parish. When you take the normal workload, and add to it the preparations and expectation of the season— it can be a bit overwhelming. These parish employees are the ones largely responsible to keep the boat floating. They are not getting rich doing this work either. Often, their service is overlooked or simply taken for granted. Today, I wanted to give a little shout out to one of these folks- a competent, articulate, positive thinker named Roger.

Here’s what I wanted to say to him this Christmas Eve day. Roger, you are a good man who is spending your days being the face of Jesus to others, and I’m thankful to have met you this year! What you do matters. You are that ray of light Pope Francis is encouraging us all to be, by the way you live your life. I suspect your family already knows how blessed they are to have you in their days, because you are clearly a man of integrity! Merry Christmas!!

Mad for…Tricia

Then give the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you. (M. Bridges)

Many moons ago, for a very brief time, I worked in the marketing department at a local home improvement company called Bee Window. It was in that role that I met a talented, articulate media sales pro named Tricia Theisen. If memory serves, we were buying Purdue sports from Learfield Communications through her.

In any case, I shared with Tricia over lunch that I was keeping my eyes out for a professional opportunity that would be a better fit for my skill set and she said, “Oh gosh! I actually have another customer that is looking for someone and I think you would be perfect! Let me make a call.”

That kindness (and providential timing) is how I ended up spending the next 10 years as the communications director for RE/MAX of Indiana. In that role, I bought media, handled public relations and a variety of others tasks. Most importantly, learned a lot and met some terrific folks— including a dear friend named Donna to whom I remain quite close all these years later. This was all the result of a simple act of selflessness by a joyful, bright woman I didn’t really even know that well yet!

I got to know Tricia better as time progressed, because she continued to call on me in my new role. I learned about her deep love and affection for her Xavier University loving husband, Greg, as well as her two young children, Kathleen and Patrick. We did a lot of talking about our kids, including their successes as well as our concerns for them. I admired and respected Tricia for the honest and authentic way she shared about her life and family. Her strong faith was clear and apparent, and she was active and involved in her parish. She was then and is now a woman of character and integrity.

If memory serves, Tricia is originally from New York (although my memory is unreliable so if I have that wrong, Tricia, I apologize)! She lives in Noblesville now and her children are grown. As her son, Patrick, struggled with his health in more recent years, I learned about his fight through mutual friends and I began praying for him. He’s a very blessed young man to have such a caring, prayerful and supportive mom. She’s sunny, positive and full of the love of the Lord— and that is EVERYTHING! I hear Pat is doing well now! Thank you, God.

My oldest son is now a senior at Xavier University. He’s loved his experience as a Muskie, and actually plans to stay in Cincy to live and work after graduation in May. It seems like a hot second ago that we were the family of an incoming freshman, gathering together at a local restaurant in Indy— being welcomed at the event by none other than my old friend Tricia and her handsome hubby, Greg. She went above and beyond the call of duty to be helpful and welcoming, because that is just who she is!

Last night as the 5 of us were watching the Muskies beat up on TCU, I marveled at how quickly time passes. This kid who wasn’t even born yet when I met Tricia is now graduating from X in a few months. What the heck!? It made me think of Tricia, and I felt gratefulness. She has been the face of Jesus to me numerous times over the years. I mean it when I say she is just a giant scoop of awesome sauce!

So today, as Christmas approaches, I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to my old friend, Tricia Theisen. She’s someone who fills the world with sunshine. Her smile makes her eyes twinkle. She’s got a great sense of humor, and her enormous heart is absolutely impossible to miss. This crazy world is so much better because she’s here in it with us! Thank you for your witness of what it means to be a woman of compassion and character by the way you live your life each day.

Merry Christmas, Tricia…and Let’s Go X!!

Mad for…Mary

The Lord looked into the depth of my being with great kindness; I thought I would die for joy under that gaze. (St. Faustina)

A bright smile, playful spirit and kind heart were always the defining qualities to me about Mary Zimmerman. She’s one of six amazing children born to my friends John and Tina Zimmerman.

Mary grew up near St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church, in Fishers, Indiana and the parish school was part of her life too as a youngster. When she left grade school and then graduated from Bishop Chatard High School, she headed off to Dayton, Ohio where she spent a few years as a Dayton Flyer. It was no surprise to me when her mom shared with me that she decided to cheer for the Flyers at UD, because this young lady was always joyful and filled with spirit!

I’ve read it said that “a good teacher is like a candle- it consumes itself to light the way for others”, and if there’s as much truth in that sentiment as I believe, then it’s unsurprising that Mary would decide to become a teacher. I suspect that she’s an incredibly positive force in her daily work with students in her classroom. She’s one of those people for whom it comes naturally to be the face of Jesus to those around her.

I’ve watched from afar over the years as Mary lovingly supports her siblings and parents, I’ve noticed her loving up the nieces and nephews, and I even watched her crush the “summer nanny” gig back in the day. She’s a character and integrity filled woman of God with a great sense of humor and a welcoming heart. All those folks now in her daily orbit two hours away in Ohio…? I hope you know what a gem you’ve got in Mary!!

Today is Mary’s birthday and I just wanted to take a moment before Christmas excitement overtakes us all to give her a little birthday shout out! I see you over there, Mary Z! Wishing you a wonderful day and a very blessed Christmas surrounded by the many people who love you like crazy!!

Thank you for always leaving whatever place you’re in just a little better for having been there. You are a phenomenal woman with a glorious soul! Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!! Today, I’ll be praying in a special way for you, Mary Zimmerman!

Mad for…Steph

Never do the envy, jealousy and insecure stuff. Be the hustler, the well wisher, the go-getter.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a sunny, beautiful woman named Steph Smith. She’s the wife of an ornery guy who also makes me smile. His name is Ed. I’ve spent a little time with Steph and Ed over the years because they are close friends of my parents, Jim and Kathy Dykhuizen.

Steph is a mover and shaker. No dust settles on this friendly, go-getter! She’s active on the YMCA board and helped get the new Y up and running in my hometown of Lafayette. She’s very involved in her Pickleball group and helped team with the city to get several courts constructed at McCaw Park on the east side of town. She’s a former coach at Lafayette Jeff High School, and also a counselor there. She and Ed are part of Ivy Tech in Lafayette— helping students get their education. Along with Ed’s brothers and spouses their foundation sponsors 25 graduates of Ivy Tech per year with scholarships to Purdue so they can finish their education. How cool is that?

Here’s what else I know about Steph! She’s a loving and supportive mom and grandma, as well as a tailgating rock star! A big Boiler fan, this gal knows her Purdue football and basketball too! As a friend to my mom, Steph is kind, thoughtful and caring. We all want the people we love to have lives surrounded by kind-hearted people of integrity, and Steph is certainly that.

Before she and Ed head back to Bonita Springs after Christmas, I just wanted to give her a little shout out and let her know that I see her awesomeness and think she’s a rock star! Merry Christmas to you and your whole amazing gang, Steph! Thank you for making the world a better place by the way you live your life. You’re flat out impressive.

Mad for…Adam

Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. (Pope John Paul II)

The Smith family amazes me. They are a large, eclectic, talented and incredibly faith-filled group of humans. Adam is the husband of a compassionate, beautiful woman named Mollie and together they built a stunning family. The whole clan is pictured together, below!

Near the center of the photo, in the plaid shirt is the father of eight, a sunny guy named Adam. This is a man of many talents! I don’t know actually what he’s principally involved in these days, but he’s done work in research and development, and he’s an incredibly gifted artist. Also, I’m fairly certain he’s a shooting instructor, which strikes me as a unique skill set.

Adam is a friendly person. He’s congenial, amiable, funny and kind. He never fails to say hello if I spot him out and about at church or perhaps at Guerin Catholic. He’s very present and supportive as a father. His outgoing, adventurous nature as well as his creative skills have definitely been inherited by many of his children. More importantly than that is the fact that his focus seems to me to be about leading his family in faith. This is ultimately what leads me to write about Adam today.

The Smith clan is impressive. Despite their wide and varying interests, abilities and gifts, the thing that draws others to them is their joyfulness. Hopeful, faithful people are magnets for sure. When we spot the face of Jesus in someone, it draws us in. That’s a fact. No one gets it right all the time, but Adam and his family are high integrity, quality humans who love the Lord. It shows. It attracts. It impresses.

Thanks, Adam, for your broad smile and welcoming ways. I think you are an inspiring and impressive man who makes the world a happier, spicier, more adventurous place to inhabit. Thanks for shining your bright light in my direction! I’m grateful!!