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…Mary

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for your hope. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

When my son, Drew, was in high school, I remember him deciding to invite Mary Ganser to be his date to a dance. At the time, I wasn’t really aware that sweet Mary was in his friend orbit, to be candid. Therefore, I quizzed him about why she was his “victim”, ha? His reply kind of warmed my heart. He said, “Well, she’s a cheerful person and Mary is too kind to turn me down.” At the end of the day, we all are just looking for the world to treat us charitably, am I right? Mary is a young woman who is both full of life and reliably considerate of others. She was an excellent choice!

Drew was right. Mary said yes. When her sunny mom, Stephanie, glanced up in my kitchen at my very tall son, looked him in the eye and gave him her pre-dance “rules and responsibilities” speech, I smiled and knew at once just how beloved this young lady is to her faith-filled family! She’s incredibly blessed.

Positive, affirming, and full up to her eyeballs with the love of the Lord….that is how I would describe Mary. Though I suspect she doesn’t see it as clearly as those around her do, hers is a life which provides a witness of hope, so present is the gift of grace within her. She’s a student at Belmont University in Nashville, and is a creatively gifted young woman. Mary is amazing with children, because her enthusiasm and playfulness matches theirs. When she was a student at Guerin Catholic, I always looked forward to her participation in any of the fine arts concerts or productions because her inclusion meant a certain joyfulness would be undeniably present.

Mary Ganser is a beautiful young lady with a soul to match, and today is her birthday! Please join me if you have a chance today and give her a birthday shout out. Glorious humans like Mary who take the time to be friendly and thoughtful make this crazy world SO MUCH BETTER! Thank you, Mary, for the lovely example you consistently provide to those around you. You are getting it right, young lady….and I hope that on your special day today you know in your heart what a beloved daughter of the most high God you truly are!! I miss your sweet smile and hope your day is terrific. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY!!

Mad for…Joanie

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord. And he will repay him for his good deed. (Prov. 19:17)

Charitable human beings like Joanie Zigmond are considered by yours truly to be the essence of virtue. After all, this really is the way the mercy of our good and gracious God is often passed on to us mere mortals. What seems to me even better is that Joanie is motivated by a true desire to be useful without the thought of being somehow repaid. I have for many years watched Joanie from afar and been not just a little awestruck by both her grace and her beautiful soul. Today is the day I’ve finally decided to tell her how inspiring she is to me. She’s pictured below with her daughter, Olivia, and her husband.

Joanie is the incredibly stunning wife of a handsome ex-military guy named Scott for whom I also have great respect. She’s the mom of a gaggle full of equally beautiful young women. I kid you not, the whole darn lot of Zigmond women look like models. This family won the DNA lottery…just sayin’. Here’s the thing, though. Absolutely and without a doubt this would matter to me not a stitch were it not for the integrity and character of the Zigmond clan– and this most certainly starts with Joanie. As a mom she is unbelievably supportive and filled with the love of the Lord. Her girls are truly blessed beyond all telling.

Compassionate, faith-filled and gracious are the words I would use to describe Joanie Zigmond. She’s done quite a bit of work for the poor in our community and well beyond through her development efforts with Samaritan’s Feet International, for instance. Not only that, but she’s a powerful ally for the arts community, especially Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. I’m woefully underreporting here, but I think you get the idea.

I met Joanie because of her youngest daughter, Rebecca, who attended a decade of school at St. Louis de Montfort with my youngest son, Zach. She and I were stomping the halls at SLDM well before that, however, as both families just completed darn near 2 decades with a child enrolled there. Rebecca and Z are now freshmen together at Guerin Catholic High School. Before I knew anything about her, I was certain Joanie was a woman of God who was filled with grace by the company she kept. Our friends do often give us away, and the folks who stuck close to Joanie were in my humble opinion some of the absolute finest people of faith I had encountered in my church community.

Thank you, Joanie, for inspiring in me a deeper desire to pitch in where I can for the benefit of those with less. I’m grateful too for your beautiful witness of what it looks like to be a woman of deep faith– at all times. Sometimes we fail to speak to others who have truly made a difference to us by their example of living lives filled with kindness, grace, and love about how awesome they are in our eyes. 2019 is my year to speak up, I decided. Therefore, I hope you hear that in what I’ve written here, because I mean these words most sincerely. Keep on keeping on, Joanie. You are doing so many things right and you are AMAZING!

Mad for…Meghan

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. -Mother Teresa

About six years ago or so, we moved a couple miles north to a new neighborhood that is extremely convenient to Guerin Catholic High School, where we knew we had about a decade ahead of us. Three and a half of those ten years remain and time is flying by at warp speed, but I digress. The point I was about to make is that when we moved we assumed we’d be giving up the built in SLDM carpool help we enjoyed in our old neighborhood. You see, the new place is further from St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School where we still had one remaining. However, I chalked that one up in the “cons” column and decided I could live with it. Our good and gracious God had another plan.

You see, it turns out that our NEXT DOOR neighbor on Randolph Crescent Drive was (and is) a lovely Catholic school family from SLDM named Dunlap. We weren’t here long before I got a text message from Meghan Dunlap alerting me to this little fact and asking me if I wanted to be their carpool partner. YOU BETCHA. We settled into a fairly workable routine where one of the three adults living at the Dunlap home would take the kiddos to school, and I would bring them home in the afternoon. Score!!

I admit that I still don’t know Meghan and her beer-loving, smarty-pants husband, Grady, as well as I should. However, I do know that together they are raising three really terrific children– Sam, Matt and Lily. All three of them entertained me during their time in my carpool. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to grinning the most at little Lily, who is a spunky piece of sunshine. Perhaps that’s because I don’t have any girls myself? In any case, the Dunlap kids are polite and lovely humans. I credit their mother, ha? We moms have to stick together.

Here’s what I know for sure. Meghan Dunlap is not only beautiful, but she’s incredibly bright. In fact, I am fairly certain her degree is in engineering. This means she’s better at math than I ever dreamed of being and I’m trying not to hold that “smart and gorgeous” combo against her. She has an impressive work ethic and a great deal of professional responsibility in her role at work, which I don’t even begin to understand (because mostly her job was explained to me by grade school aged children). Those three also made it clear she’s supportive and loving as a mother and also very effective at instituting a few mandatory yard work days each year, which always makes me smile and want to yell affirming things out my window in solidarity. Kids are such hilarious truth-tellers. She’s also a thoughtful daughter who definitely inherited it from her incredibly amazing mom, Judy Sullivan, who lives with them in the cutest apartment right inside the house.

There have been multiple times over the years when Meghan has reached out with care, concern or compassion to our family. Also, when scheduling craziness got the best of us, Meghan always was patient and kind rolling with the punches. These are no small things to those of us who are sometimes just barely managing to survive the days. The little things? They are actually EVERYTHING.

Sam, Matt and Lily have no idea how blessed they are to have a faith-filled woman of God as their mom. With their incredibly busy lives and professional schedules, it would be oh so easy to simply skip mass on Sunday or not attend to the spiritual needs of her family. That’s not what Meghan is about. I’ve been watching. She’s working hard to get it right. I see you, neighbor, and so does the Lord. Today’s shout out is for you! Well done, good and faithful servant!!

Mad for…Laura

The essence of life is to serve others and do good. (Aristotle)

About a month ago, a lovely woman who long served St. Louis de Montfort as it’s CYO Athletic Director celebrated a big milestone birthday. It recently came to my attention that I missed the party entirely, but that does not mean that it’s too late to let her know that I see her servant’s heart and all the hours she has put in over the years for the benefit of just a LOT of young people! Today, therefore, I’m issuing an official and long overdue shout out to one Laura Klee!! She’s pictured above, on the far right of the first row in this group of sunny women!

Laura is the mom of four and the wife of a smiley, outgoing guy named Kevin. Her super sweet daughter, Grace, went through grade school with my Zach, and now they are both Golden Eagles, so I’ve therefore spent a number of years essentially in a similar orbit. I’m fairly certain she’s from the Indianapolis area because I recall her telling me once that she is a graduate of Bishop Chatard High School. Sometimes my memory is a fail, though, so Laura if I have that all completely wrong please forgive me.

Here’s what I know for sure. Laura is a no-nonsense, hard-worker as well as a woman of integrity. She’s a supportive mom and wife as well as a woman of faith who always seems busy but who never seems to me to be in a hurry. I’d like a piece of that, so I find her inspiring. She’s one of those folks who is wise enough to walk away from drama, and she seems more attached to making choices which seem to be right and good. She appears to me from my view in the cheap seats to value peace of mind, self-respect, and most of all her family.

The number of times I saw Laura with her arms full of uniforms, or concession stand supplies, or miscellaneous athletic gear of one type or another over the years would make your head spin. The number of crazy situations she handled with grace over time is impressive. I saw that, Laura. Probably, I owe you a drink (or several) for my own part in some of the chaos too! We parents really can be the worst sometimes, am I right?!! Laura’s retired from that post now, but in that role I always saw a straightforward person who isn’t afraid to dig in for the sake of others, and I respect her for it.

Today, I ran into a little piece of my boys childhood in the form of some old SLDM gear. It made me think of all the great folks like Marshall Scheper, Mary Fuller, and of course Laura Klee who poured out many hours of effort so that hundreds of young people could have a positive youth sports experience in a faith-filled atmosphere. I failed to ever properly thank Laura for those efforts,and today I wanted to right that ship! Laura, many thanks are way way overdue from the Thieme clan for all your work over the years. We are grateful for all our CYO experiences in that gym full of sweaty SLDM Cardinals. For your part in making that happen, please accept our most heartfelt THANK YOU!

God Bless You, and the entire Klee family! Also, I know I’m extremely late but also HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I hope this is your best year yet, because you deserve that!!

Mad for…Julie

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10)

Last night was a good one for Boilermakers everywhere, and I was lucky enough to be in the ninth row behind the Purdue men’s basketball team for their game! Coach Painter and his team took on Virginia in the Big 10/ACC Challenge, in a game hosted by my alma mater at one of the best venues in all of college basketball– Mackey Arena! It was this event that brought me a night of fun and catching up with an old friend, Julie Hedlund.

Sweet Julie and her husband, Ken, invited us along with them to the game! Ken works with my hubby, Tom, at Somerset CPAs. They’ve been co-workers a long time. In fact, one of my favorite photos from our wedding is of Ken and Julie laughing at our reception. That was 25 years ago, and the Hedlunds are both still among the most authentic people around. Julie and I hopped into the back seat and as we headed up I-65 to my hometown, I remembered all the things I have always loved about her!

Joyful, friendly and so incredibly real, Julie Hedlund is a happy person who simply says and does the things she actually believes. She’s a woman who does good and says kind things because it’s the right thing to do. She’s interested and interesting. A friend of mine has a post-it on her fridge which reads, “Authenticity: knowing who you are and being brave enough to live it.” That, in a nutshell, is how I see Julie Hedlund.

She eagerly and enthusiastically showed off her photos and videos of new granddaughter, Manny, who lives in Chicago. It was heartening to hear the cheerful delight in Julie’s voice and to see the brightness in her eyes as she talked about her new role as a grandmother, and also the pride with which she shared updates on her four grown children. Julie is a sunny and grace-filled woman. People like Julie Hedlund represent everything that still good and right in this crazy world we share. She’s the salt of the earth.

As the game wore on last night, Julie and I got to laughing at Ken just a little. He’s a man who apparently digs his popcorn, because he was going through his supply quickly. Finally, he reached over to offer Julie the box. She grabbed it, then turned to me with a big grin, and tilted the box towards me and told me to take as much as I’d like. In the very bottom of the box, about a half cup of crumbs were all the remained. She giggled, “My Kenny really loves his popcorn!” We both just laughed. Her smile is contagious!!

A nurse by profession, I have no doubt that Julie is a blessing to all her patients as well as her co-workers because she is not only caring and compassionate, she’s also very funny! A joyful person like Julie who can laugh at life is one who makes a difference for others. Period. Spending a few hours with this completely lovely and truly beautiful woman really did make my day! THANKS, JULIE, for reminding me why it’s so important to spend our days being exactly who God created us to be. You are nothing if not an incredible, integrity-filled woman. How blessed is little Manny James to have such a grandma!!

If I’m going to be anything, Lord, let me be genuine… like Julie Hedlund.

P.S. Purdue wins 69-40 over Virginia!! Boiler Up!!

Mad for…Andreas

Faith can move mountains. (Mt. 17:20)

There is no human I have ever encountered with a stomach which is made of quite the same stuff as this man. It’s possible his is made of steel, or some other such impervious material. It seems no matter what kind of leftovers, he’s incapable of being injured or impaired by their consumption. We’ve even joked when we’re well past the appropriate time to clear out the fridge that it’s contents would now not even pass the “Uncle Andreas” test. If he wouldn’t eat them, you see, then no one else should try…ha?

Truth be told, Andreas Sashegyi is simply not a wasteful human. He doesn’t like to throw things away which are still of some value– and that’s a laudable thing. Andreas is married to my sister-in-law, Mary Jo (Thieme) Sashegyi. Together, they have one son, Thomas, who will turn 12 years old this week. They live in downtown Indianapolis where he works for Eli Lilly. Andreas is Canadian, and he spent his formative years there. However, when people ask me about him, I usually describe him as German. He’s certainly culturally so, and he speaks both English and German quite well. I’m not sure what other languages he’s comfortable with, but he’s an extremely bright guy with excellent language skills.

He’s pictured here in a photo with Mary Jo and Thomas. This photo is a few years old, but in it the three of them look happy and full of joy and I’ve always liked it, so I hope they won’t mind me sharing it here.

As a biker, Andreas is fearless. Frankly, he has kind of scared me with his biking adventures over the years, and I’ve several times found myself not just a little anxious as he describes his long rides on busy roads and highways. He’s also a talented artist and a lover of good books and music.

What most defines Andreas for me, though, is his genuine devotion to his faith. He is both knowledgeable and engaged as a Catholic– a man of God for sure. He’s incredibly generous and charitable to his parish and community– in both time and resources. It’s inspiring and a lovely example to others. We joke behind his back a little about his affection for lighting “fellowship candles”, but the truth is he’s motivated by his interest in gathering together to share around a table– stories, food and laughter. Those are beautiful things.

So today, as we really enter into the season of Advent and inch closer to Christmas, I wanted to give Andreas a little shout out and share with you all this little tidbit I jotted down a while back in honor of my smarty pants brother-in-law. I believe the quote is from His Eminence’s book A Moment of Grace and it recalled an encounter he had in a confessional just before Advent was to begin. I thought it was beautiful and appropriate to share.

“Now is a moment of grace. Something big is about to happen; something very big. And it’s going to happen to you. We are about to begin Advent. God has become incarnate in the human condition, for you, personally for you. God has become a little baby in the middle of the sins you have just told me about. You have reason for new and wonderful hope.

What better gift could we give ourselves and our loved ones than to become more Christian, more loving, more Christ-like, that is to say, to give Him permission, as Mother Teresa once suggested, to work within us? What better gift to present to the little baby in that stable in a grotto outside of Bethlehem.

AMEN, Cardinal O’Connor…and thanks for being you, Andreas. I’m overdue to tell you that I notice so many lovely things about you, and I’m thankful to call you family. Happy Advent!!

Mad for…Deanne

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

Tuesday mornings, I typically drop Zach off at Guerin Catholic then I head to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for mass. Today was no different. Kneeling down to pray, I glanced up to the credence table and noticed a large silver chalice sitting on it, and I smiled. You see, this means that the tall, sarcastic human who really brought me to Jesus is celebrating this mass. I happily spent a few minutes there praying for Fr. Richard, because, well….the devil is no fan of this holy priest. I was thinking “this is going to be a good day!” Oh gosh, I had no idea how right I was about to be!

After mass was over, I zipped up my coat to head out, and I was stopped by a familiar face. Her smile was radiant, and her greeting was warm, but the truth is, I truly didn’t know Deanne Miller…until today. She handed me a beautiful bag with a book inside and she said, “This is awkward, but I feel like the Holy Spirit is calling me to give you this book. Also, I just kinda think I want to be your friend.” Who can resist the loveliness of that? NOT I, that is for darn sure!

Deanne went on to explain that she had stumbled upon this blog, then there were lots of other nice words…and that she felt a connection of some kind. She wondered if we might have coffee sometime. I replied, “Well, I’m free right now?”

What I learned over coffee is that not only is Deanne brave and ridiculously affirming, she’s also the mother to four children (Sydney, Maci, Austin, and Evan) whose names I’ve probably just misspelled or screwed up entirely. She’s also the wife to a surgeon named Mike. I don’t know a lot more about any of them, except that it was clear IN SECONDS that these are five humans who are loved beyond measure. Those young people and that smart man who married Deanne are unbelievably blessed. Not unlike Our Blessed Mother, this is a woman whose soul magnifies the Lord. These are not words I write flippantly, people. I’m not kidding you. She’s a stunning woman– inside and out. To be candid, I was kind of interiorly freaking out as she said one holy and glorious thing after another and I thought to myself, “She wants to be MY friend? Holy crap, Lord. You sent me Deanne Miller! What the what?!”

After we spoke and her beautiful words settled on me, she said, “Please don’t write about me.” Oh, poor Deanne. She doesn’t know me well enough to know that we were UTTERLY past the point of no return on today’s entry. Jesus sends me someone whose words make my heart burn with love for Him, but I am supposed to overlook her in my blog which is titled “HE NEVER MISSES”? Hahahaha!! I will at least apologize for the old photo I’m posting of her totally gorgeous family, but it was all I could locate quickly to steal off the internet.

Deanne taught me something today. She isn’t waiting on the next guy to make a move. She’s just out there loving people fearlessly. I felt my heart enlarge in her presence. The move she called awkward shoving a book at me after mass and asking to get to know me better? I’m going to name it foolish, gutsy love. My soul was so filled up with Jesus when I left her that I’m sort of grasping for words to express myself. She was the face of Christ to me today, and I was incredibly gotten by the enormity of it. How much must God love us, friends? And how intimately does He know me…and you?

The end of the gospel today was this from the 10th chapter of Luke…”Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Deanne? She is grace-filled. She hears it and sees it. It’s clearly a bell she can’t “unring”. In fact, so full of the Lord is she that she oozed Him out all over me. I didn’t get to some of the items on my list today, and frankly I just don’t give a flying leap. The amount glad I am to have had too much Starbucks coffee today with Deanne Miller is impossible for me to adequately express. THANKS DEANNE for being a blessing larger than you know! Today, you gave me a first person demonstration of how we are to “Live in Grace, Walk in Love.” Well done. I am inspired and can’t wait to pay it forward to some other unsuspecting souls very soon!

P.S. If you’re reading today, Wendy Wiese, I owe you one for this introduction. You are also rock star of the highest order, and I’ll be praying for you tomorrow in a special way.