Mad for…Pat

The holy man was the whole man, the man of integrity, who not only tried to change the world, but live in it as it was. –Dorothy Day

A couple months back, I was on a long walk with my friend, Catherine. We’ve not been friends all that long, honestly, but I treasure her for her authenticity and her stunningly beautiful heart. As fate would have it, we encountered a bike accident on the Monon trail that day, and in this case, an older gentleman was clearly injured. His pants were ripped and he was bleeding. We stopped to talk to him and we noticed the bleeding was rather significant. When he shared that he was on blood thinners and had some other medical issues, we strongly urged him to allow us to call for help. We were on foot and not that close to our cars. He was adamant that he didn’t want us to call for an ambulance, so Catherine decided to call her husband Pat.

Pat Murphy, on the far right, with his beautiful family.

Pat Murphy, I’ve learned from observation, is a very hard-working and compassionate man. Within minutes, he arrived in his rather badass pickup truck and saved the day. He had brought along some basic first aid essentials and then tossed the man’s bike into the back of his truck and drove him home, making sure he’d done all he could to assist. Let me add for a moment that Pat is a busy attorney. I’m fairly certain he didn’t have “Good Samaritan” on his schedule for the day, but that day he dropped everything to be the love to a stranger. Kindness and love always make a difference. Pat probably thought he was just doing a good deed and that it was not a big deal. Oh, how far from the truth he would be!

An integrity-filled father of 4, Pat and his wife are high school sweethearts from Champaign, Illinois. He’s the youngest of four siblings, and a man of faith who is ALWAYS willing to pitch in. For instance, just this past Sunday as we were setting up for our first of four Sunday speakers at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (part of our Respect Life Month activities), we noticed that some of the folks who ordered meals didn’t order a drink. Pat immediately offered to go out in the rain and run to the grocery for a couple cases of water, just so that we’d be able to make sure everyone was comfortable and satisfied. It’s a little thing, but it’s the exact kind of selflessness I see Pat display over and over. I could fill this page with several similar stories. Rarely, (I pray) do I overlook someone who inspires a ripple of kindness in their wake, because Pat and folks like him always remind me that the things that matter the most cost virtually nothing but mean everything. He’s a quick-witted smart aleck who I’ve noticed leaves the world a little better than he found it. THAT combo is my favorite kind of human, and honestly…and it makes me want to be like Pat!

What struck me about Pat’s little grocery run was his positivity. He didn’t come back even a skosh snarky about the last minute fire drill. Instead, he gushed about the rainbow in the sky he’d seen on this journey and how it felt like a “God hug”. To me, Pat’s sense of humor, his willingness to join in and help, his work ethic, and his obvious love of his family make him the perfect guy on whom to bestow the illustrious Mad for “Person of the Week” award.

Don’t let it go to your head, Murphy.

Hail, Holy Queen

I’ve always been drawn to the Blessed Mother. Even as a little girl, I remember stopping outside the church doors on my way to my grandparents house when the organist was practicing. She often played “Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above” which I found magical. I didn’t quite understand how the fullness of the Lord’s love for us was revealed in this one incredible woman at that time. However, I intuited beauty and peace.

A couple years ago, my pastor implored me to familiarize myself with the Memorare. It’s a prayer which calls on the Blessed Mother for her powerful intercession. It quickly made its way into my prayer lexicon, and now I consider it a favorite for its efficaciousness. If you’re still reading this, I’ve likely prayed it for you and your intentions or needs. So, this is me admitting I’m kind of a Mary freak alongside my Jesus girl tendencies. It sort of makes sense. After all, we can learn a lot about anyone by looking at their mother, am I right?

Last week, a lovely Christian friend confided that she just was made aware of a Catholic Holy Day she had never heard of previously. Now, I should share that this woman is incredibly kind and also not a Catholic. She spoke candidly to me, “Shelly, I don’t get it. How is all this Mary stuff supposed to help us humans? I mean I like you and my Catholic friends are good people, but I just don’t get the point of the Assumption, or just your whole obsession with Mary.”

I’m thankful she felt comfortable to ask, and also that I have smart people to lean on who explain things better than me! I gave her a great video by Bishop Robert Barron on Mary. And also, I shared the following personal thoughts.

I told her that Mary, in her heavenly glory, reminds us that this life isn’t our end game. We are aiming higher, for a glorious forever home in eternity. We have to live with our eyes fixed beyond the here and now, and on the beauty of heaven.

This reality is so darn helpful at this moment in time. That’s because the stresses and anxieties of today, then, can’t be permitted to overwhelm us. We’re human and we foul this up sometimes, but we need to look to the example of Our Blessed Mother. That means, we can’t allow the craziness of this world to steal our peace.

The Assumption of Mary (Guido Reni, 1642)

Pope Benedict said, “The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon. We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand.”

What a beautiful explanation of the Assumption, and the wonderful intercessor we have in Mary!

I hope I helped my friend understand just a little bit more about the reason I love so fiercely the Mother of Our Lord. If not her, maybe one of you…but I’ll leave those outcomes to grace.

Have a great week everyone, and if you find yourself at low ebb, call on Mary. What do you have to lose by giving her a shout out? Just saying. Worth a shot?

Queen of Heaven…Pray for Us!!

Clap Your Hands

Panera Bread was the place where my friend, Janice, and I decided to meet up for a little while this afternoon. After we scored a table, we went up to stand in line. Shortly, a sunny employee headed through the lobby towards the door and as she did so she sang, “If you’re happy and you know it…” and then Janice and I commenced with the appropriate clapping, of course! The singing Panera gal seemed genuinely thrilled at our joining in.

Afterward, my sweet friend commented about how her children would be mortified that she made such a spectacle of herself. Meanwhile, I explained how mine would be relatively unaffected because, well, I let my freak flag show a lot. They might be embarrassed, but they’re largely used to it. I’m genetically predisposed?

I mean, my parents used to make us all sing the Mickey Mouse Club Song when leaving restaurants. M-I-C, see ya real soon, K-E-Y, why, because we like you…M-O-U-S-E. Also, they shoved 14 year old me out of the family mini-van once just before I started high school and refused to let me back in until I belted out the school fight song. I might be immune to total humiliation? So, my point is that the Thieme boys have gotten off easy. Still, I’m their mom and that’s been a character building opportunity for them all, ha?

As we finished up at Panera, that employee we had seen earlier? She showed up at our table with two to-go bags, each holding a cookie. She wanted to thank us for joining in on her joyful moment.

The moral of the story today? If you’re happy and you know it? CLAP YOUR HANDS!!

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” (James Barrie)

Today, I’m grateful for the gal from Panera Bread and my dear friend, Janice Kunkel who both were the face of Christ to me this day with their example of joy. Let’s all quit worrying what other people think about us and be the reason someone smiles today! I believe Jesus would think that’s pretty swell, and isn’t He the one who really matters anyway? Who’s with me?!

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…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!!