Mad for…Sha

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer (Romans 12:12)

July 16, 2019– Several years ago when our sons, Joey and Drew, were playing baseball together for the Carmel Pups, I found myself with a seriously broken down minivan at a tournament in Jasper, Indiana. It was about this time in the summer and the temperature was about 95 degrees, so I was dripping with sweat and not a small amount cranky. I needed a savior, and that’s when Sha Butz swooped in to save the day! I wanted to just shove my vehicle off a bridge into the river, but instead that darn van would remain in southern Indiana for a couple weeks at a repair shop. Lucky for us, the hilarious and very silly Sha made us forget our vehicle woes that weekend. We went where she went, because, well, she was our wheels. I recall very clearly laughing until I had tears rolling down my cheeks when she decided to try on the underwear over her clothing at the Jasper Walmart. Sha is lively and amusing mixed with a pinch of ridiculous– and completely lovable!

If my memory serves, Sha is a Butler grad from Kokomo. She’s married to a terrific human named Steve, and together they have three super kids– Evan, Joey, and Erica– as they appear from left to right in the photo above with their parents.

For me, Sha’s got two defining qualities that make her stand out from others. First, she’s incredibly joyful, and more importantly, she is a woman of God. She has endured her share of suffering, and because she truly loves the Lord, it’s evident to me that it’s only sharpened her character and produced perseverance. That’s why I chose my favorite scripture verse to honor her today.

Those three young people pictured with her above are blessed beyond words to have a spiritual soul like Sha as their mother. I have no doubt that from her they have learned an infinite amount about positivity and integrity as well as grace and gratitude. Also, they’ve learned not to take themselves or this life too seriously.

I don’t see Sha much these days, but I did run into her a few weeks ago while she was out to dinner with Steve and some friends. She went out of her way to come say hello and give Tom and I both a big hug. That’s Sha! She’s always got a big grin that fills the area with her sunshine. She’s like a big glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot day– so cool and refreshing! Thank you Sha Butz for the amazing woman that you are! Your sparkle is encouraging and inspiring to all of us who have the good fortune to know you!

Mad for…Pam

Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength. (Bruce Lee)

July 15, 2019– The beautiful and wise friend pictured with me above is Pam Fremion. She’s this sunny gal with the most winning attitude. I have been watching her for a few years now, and the poor thing is stuck with me nearby for at least 4 more since our youngest sons will be classmates together in the Guerin Catholic High School class of 2023!!

Pam is a fairly recent convert to the Catholic Church and the mom of one gorgeous daughter (Maddie) and three handsome sons (Grant, Joey and Will). Her husband is a pistol named Mike. Also, Pam is a teacher to very young children. Cuties in large numbers who can’t yet tie their shoes and to whom zippers and buttons are still a struggle would, quite frankly, give me hives. Based solely on what I know of her husband (ha?) and her career, Pam is patience personified!

About a year ago, I was sharing Pam’s wisdom with a young teacher “to be” who was expressing frustration over how much time she was spending tying shoes during her student teaching. “Well, you need a SHOE SHERIFF!” This poor gal looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head, but I went on to explain how my patient and experienced teacher friend locates the young person in her classroom who has already mastered this skill and appoints them to be the “shoe sheriff” in her class. Apparently, it’s a prestigious post to hold, and before too long there are a few deputies. BRILLIANT, am I right?! And the fact that this seemed like the most amazing idea ever invented to both myself and this new teacher about to enter the workforce just explains Pam in a nutshell.

Pam is a positive, patient, problem-solving scoop of sunshine! As a mom to a recent college grad, a college student, and two high schoolers, she’s incredibly compassionate, caring and supportive…but not in a smothering way. She listens and provides guidance while still leaving space for her kiddos to grow and learn. Who doesn’t want a mom like that? She’s a rock star!

Funny and with the most contagious laugh, being around Pam is easy and enjoyable. She’s an integrity-filled woman of character who truly is sunny and with the most beautiful smile. Her stories singed with sarcasm make me cackle. When I see her, the space around her is filled with positivity and energy. She’s a generous and lovely soul, and I think God loves her giving heart even more than I do.

Thanks, Pam, for brightening the world with your smile, your funny stories, and your compassion. I’m so grateful for kind, patient people like you who show up to celebrate even when my invite was over text at the last possible second. I simply don’t always have my act together, and nothing beats the friend who’s willing to overlook my flaws! You, my friend, are both a gem and a keeper! Keep doing you, because YOU….are a glorious human.

Mad for…Fr. Paternoster

A holy priest is a savior and another Christ, taking the Master’s place on earth, representing Him, clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgement on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock. (St. John Eudes)

July 14, 2019– Today, as the people of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel celebrate their patronal feast day, this beautiful parish is on my mind. Therefore, it seems appropriate for me to choose one of the fearless leaders of this very large parish community to honor today!

Associate Pastor, Fr. Alejandro Paternoster, recently celebrated his 25th Ordination Anniversary. A beautiful “YES” like this one is a selfless gift and I, for one, am quite grateful! His commission to serve has been a blessing to the lives of those around him. It was St. Ambrose who said about the priesthood, “He made them the vicars of His love.” I also happen to think a holy priest is just an absolute miracle of grace from the Lord, a gift to us all. Fr. Paternoster is such a man.

He’s a good-natured, humorous and positive man with a genuine smile. He’s also a compassionate, cooperative and character filled-human being. His work with the large Hispanic apostolate at OLMC is daunting work which he does beautifully. He’s a genuine friend of Jesus who makes Christ present to all of us in the sacraments and by the joyful way he lives his life. In the Thieme family, we appreciate his accessible homilies and enjoy the fact that almost always he will open with a laugh. We are big fans of smiling.

Thank you, Fr. Paternoster for your spiritual leadership, and for the encouraging way you guide, support, mentor and teach us all. You are a special priest, and we are so grateful for you! We are praying that your life is filled with joyfulness, happiness and health! Happy 25th Anniversary!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pray for Us!

Mad for…Kendra

“When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved….” (Mark 6: 34)

July 11, 2019– Here’s a glimpse of Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, which is the home of the Indiana Hoosiers football team. Look quickly, because the chances are low that you will see it again from this author, ha?! I did, in fact, find a photo of the birthday girl, Kendra Buehler (pictured at center, above) with her middle son Jacob, a very bright young Boilermaker. However, I’ve chosen to take the high road and not offer up that beautiful shot here for my IU loving friend on her special day. Instead, you will see from left to right: Jacob, Halley, Kendra, Luke and Leo Buehler, above.

Kendra is the wife of Leo Buehler and the mom to those good looking kiddos pictured around her. I’m pretty sure she’s a Jasper native who attended IU herself. Since her boys are the same ages as my oldest two kiddos, the faces of the Buehler family were familiar to us before we got to know them. Once the grade school rivalry ended and the Buehler guys were playing for the same school as the Thieme fellas, I got to know Kendra a little better.

What I learned during those GC years is that she is a faithful woman in word and deed. She’s uncompromising on God’s truth, and she sees the big picture better than most. Plain spoken, Kendra is quick-witted in a sarcastic kind of way. Since people who meet my sarcasm with sarcasm are my kind of folks, I have always found her entertaining and easy to be around.

As a mom, Kendra is respectful, loving and fun! She can often be seen cheering on the Rose Hulman baseball team for which her oldest son is a standout pitcher. She’s competitive and passionate like yours truly, so I feel like I “get” her. It cracked me up when she posted photos of the Buehler boys painting and hideously “redecorating” their sister Halley’s room while she was away at her confirmation retreat recently. The bed was replaced with an inflatable pool and the walls were decked out in a homemade beach mural. The photos were hilarious. That’s the kind of playfulness that creates memories– and I loved it!!

Kendra smiles, she stops to help, she offers and she notices others around her. That’s why I chose the scripture quote above to honor her on her special day. I am grateful for her good example, as it always has reminded me that God smiles on us when we try to do the kind of things that Jesus did. The Buehler family has a supportive, loyal and faithful mother and wife in Kendra, and they are truly blessed. Today is her birthday, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge her awesomeness and just to say: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KENDRA!

Mad for…Mia

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful. (T. Hanh)

July 10, 2019– Several weeks after she started attending St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School, I met the mom of the “new girl” in Nick’s class, Mia Driscoll. I think I said something to this beautiful mom about how sweet little Mia is and that I hoped she was feeling welcomed by her new classmates. She looked at me and said, “Mia?” I motioned over to her daughter and said, “Aren’t you Mia’s mom?” That’s when she looked at me and kind of rolled her eyes and said, “Ah. Yes. My daughter’s name is Mary, but evidently she’s going with Mia? I was unaware.” At the time, I wasn’t sure how to respond, as I didn’t want to offend this new mom I was trying to draw in to the community but it was hard to contain my laughter. Kids crack me up. As I look back on it now, this makes me giggle even more!

Independent, witty and spiritually oriented, Mia is most definitely also a spunky, adventurous young lady. She’s pictured above with her Dad, John, in their Boilermaker gear. Mia is a stunningly gorgeous young woman who is headed into her senior year at Purdue University this fall…and today is her birthday!

A few months back, Tom and I decided to go grab a drink and a little bite to eat at a little place close to the house. The service was not amazing. Well, to be completely candid, the tacos we ordered were delivered with no filling. We were just kind of staring at them when Mia came upon us. I’ve only seen her a handful of times since she and Nick graduated together from Guerin Catholic so it was a treat to see that grin once again. She gave me a big bear hug, and a smile and caught me up on things for a minute. That’s when I realized that although she was not our waitress, she was in fact waiting tables there because she looked at our empty taco shells and said, “Oh, geez! I see there’s a problem and I shall fix it for you!!” She waived her arms, grapped the plate and she was off to play hero!

Mia is just a bucketful of sunshine. Those are my kind of folks. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIA! Here’s hoping your senior year at Purdue is your best year yet! BOILER UP, sweet girl!

Mad for…Jan

A sense of humor is God’s antidote for anger and frustration. (Rick Warren)

July 9, 2019– I was out to dinner a few weeks back with a dear friend. After we finished eating, we took a short stroll on the Monon and we ran into these two lovely ladies! It had been way too long since I had seen them. Pictured above are the beautiful Brooke Williams and her stunning mama, my friend Jan Williams Grumbacher.

Jan is the wife of a good man named Jason and the mom to three terrific kiddos (Ross, Morgan and Brooke) as well as the step-mom of two more (Lauren and Matthew). As a mom, she’s supportive, generous and incredibly loving. Those are five truly blessed children. If I could choose one characteristic that has gotten my sunny friend through the rough patches to this point in life, I’d say it was certainly her sense of humor. She sees the comedy present in the everyday, and she rolls with the punches!

It’s needed armor, a sense of humor. Laughter helps us make it through, and I think it’s utterly of God. Truly, I believe the Lord hears Jan giggling through her day and He smiles. It’s the way she spreads grace in this world! Her intelligence and kindness pair nicely with that sense of humor.

Today as Jan celebrates her birthday, I just wanted to take a moment to tell her that I love her for her welcoming face, joyfulness, generous heart and ability to make any situation an adventure! Thank you for ALWAYS making me smile!! You are an extra large scoop of ice cream with hot fudge and I hope your beautiful family celebrates you with sprinkles on top today, my friend! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAN!!

Mad for…Billy

Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man’s own will. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

July 8, 2019– A Crown Point native and the father of 3 pretty terrific kids, Billy Finn is also the husband of a bright and talented wife named Lisa. Their children, Mia, Max and Luke are all sports-lovers which is not surprising considering both their parents have extensive and successful sports backgrounds. Billy is a 1994 graduate of Andrean High School in the Region. He’s a tough, handsome, faith-filled and athletically gifted guy.

I met Billy several years ago through mutual friends from our church and school community in Fishers, Indiana. He often volunteers his time coaching kids, and has done so since well before his own children were old enough to participate. In fact, when my current Boilermaker was a 4th grader, I remember Billy coaching CYO football and drawing up a hook and ladder play that the boys had never practiced…in the sand on the sidelines. My son, Drew, caught the pass and pitched it to his teammate, who ran down a wide open field of grass and then got tackled by the “turf monster”. As I recall it, the kid certainly would have gone for a TD if not for that misfortune. It was hilarious, and it’s one of our family’s all-time favorite CYO football moments. Only the uber competitive Billy Finn would decide that 3 nine-year old boys could learn and execute the hook and ladder on the fly. Classic Coach Finn. They almost pulled it off too!!

Billy is bright and has a fantastic work ethic. He’s an upright guy, a terrific dad who has a genuine way about him, and a hilarious dry sense of humor. He knows how to smile, laugh, and keep his priorities in line. I have a great deal of respect for Billy because of the quality of his character and the strength and love he models for his family and all those around him.

Today is Billy’s birthday, and I hope that Lisa and the kids are celebrating him in style today, because his is a life worth celebrating in a big way! Thanks for setting the bar high for all those around you, Billy! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILLY FINN!