Mad for…Ange

God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal. (St. Maximilian Kolbe)

She sings and shines through both the shadows and the sunshine of life. She’s generous, funny and thoughtful. Meet my friend, Ange Bailey. This week, we are in the middle of her birthday festival, so today I’d like to take a moment to show some love to one of the most gracious women I know!

I met Ange many years ago. She has two children, Michael and Katie, who are the same ages as my two oldest children. They were classmates of Drew and Nick all the way from grade school at St. Louis de Montfort through the four years at Guerin Catholic. Actually, Drew and Michael are Boilermakers and Pi Kapps together. Ange and I will be headed to Tippecanoe County to share Mom’s Day with the Pi Kapp guys next weekend, in fact!

I don’t know how many crock pots Ange owns, but I’m not sure she ever has all of them in her home at the same time. If you’ve ever been ill, or mourning, or just in need of some TLC and you live in Central Indiana, the chances are that Ange has cooked you a meal or baked you something sweet and delicious. My youngest son, Zach, actually has cravings for her cake pops which she has been known to assuage out of just plain goodness. She’s a genius in the kitchen, but its her big compassionate heart that drives her to cook! She knows how to walk beside others who need to know they matter and that they are loved. Her witness in this area is stunning and it is beautiful. She inserts herself and her yummy meals without fanfare, but always with attention to detail and a face full of joy.

In recent months, the weather in her own life has been a bit stormy. At moments when I know that if I had been walking in her shoes, I might have fallen apart, Ange turned to the Lord, to prayer, and to faith-filled friends and family. She was humble enough to say, “I can’t do this by myself”, and so therefore, I have watched with wonder as our good and gracious God has filled her to overflowing with grace beyond reason. She has remained upbeat and grateful for all her blessings. Should this surprise me? It should not. Ange has long been an active member of her parish, serving on the parish council and in various roles, but in my opinion, none have been more important than her role as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I think it’s her sincere love and devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist that has sustained her.

To me, Ange is just so inspiring. Her legs got a little wobbly, but guess what? She kept walking. She knew that when we reach up to Him, our Lord is anxious to reach down and carry us close to His heart. A friend like Ange is a treasure beyond words. Ange, I hope your birthday week is filling your cup to overflowing with blessings. I love you, friend! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Mad for…Ty

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy…The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Ps 126: 2-3)

See that handsome kid in the center of the photo above? He’s wearing a T.Y. Hilton jersey for a reason! That’s Ty Schwegman, one of Zach’s closest buddies and a terrific young man. Today is his 14th birthday!

I chose the scripture quote above for Ty’s birthday today because I love the way he laughs and smiles through life! Ty is a silly, outgoing young man who always has a great grin on his face. He’s the younger brother of Laine and the son of Jeff and Renee Schwegman. Tragically, despite the influence of his amazing Godmother, Cindy Lamping (a Purdue women’s basketball legend), Ty was raised by IU fans. His love of the Hoosiers is truly his one large and unfortunate flaw! Ha?!

As a friend, Ty is top notch. He’s loyal, kind, and he laughs a lot. Few people can make my young “Eeyore” giggle like this kid can. It warms my heart. He’s joy-filled, bright and thoughtful. As a cousin to young Max and Lilah Cruz, Ty is remarkably gifted, supportive and patient. He has a huge heart for others, a quality I have noticed since he was just a little guy. He treats others– no matter who they are– with respect. He seems to be immune to the “I’m too cool for you” phase some young people fall into during this time of life. It would be an easy trap to fall into for a young man who is handsome, popular with his peers, smart and athletic. However, his priorities seem to be faith, family and friends. It’s so refreshing and a pretty awesome tribute to the parents who have raised him.

Also, Ty’s a talented pitcher and infielder…and wow does he love a big juicy steak. He’s an integrity-filled young man who is a pleasure to have around. Today, on his birthday, I wanted to let him know that I love the way he shines!! The world rings with your laughter! Thank you, Ty, for being such a joy to be around. The entire Thieme family is crazy about you, kid! We can’t wait to cheer you on the next four years as a Guerin Catholic Golden Eagle! #SLDMClassof2019 #GCHSClassof2023

Mad for…Lee Ann

Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see. It is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly, “You got this. Keep going.”

Day 80 of 365.

Do you see these two glorious sisters basking in sunshine? On the left is one of my dearest friends on the planet, Lisa Houze. On the right is her gorgeous sister, Lee Ann Zwiebel. Today is Lee Ann’s birthday, so I wanted to post a little shout out to her awesomeness as a little gift!

Lee Ann and I are acquainted just a bit. I’ve spent a few stolen moments with her over the years as our lives have intersected now and then. Lee Ann is a fiery and competitive sports lover, and her game is volleyball– a sport she’s poured herself into over many years. Often, she posts inspiring quotes on her social media and sometimes I write them down. Always, they speak to me about strength, attitude, and being an encourager to those around us. I find her obvious fierceness and positivity to be inspiring.

Lee Ann is a bright and articulate wife and mother of two. Her daughters, Anna and Lara, are simply some of the very best young people around. It takes a special and devoted mom to raise daughters who are as integrity-filled as these two. She’s supportive and loving, and her children reflect her in their kindness and stunning compassion for others. As women go, Lee Ann is not hard on the eyes. She’s stunningly beautiful. However, what makes her truly gorgeous is her integrity and the quality of her character.

Do you know what else is pretty fantastic about Lee Ann? She’s joyful and very funny! Her sense of humor is immediately apparent upon meeting her and people who make me laugh are among my very favorite, because laughing is my favorite thing!!

Lee Ann, I hope your birthday is a fantastic one, because your life is just SO WORTH CELEBRATING in a BIG WAY! Thank you for the sunshine and giggles! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Mad for…Sr. Josemaria

To be happy what you need is not an easy life, but a heart which is in love. -St. Josemaria Escriva

The Carmel Deanery is chock full of stunningly gorgeous souls that I affectionately called “Jesus girls”. I took an unofficial headcount and I am pretty sure almost all of them were at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church this afternoon to hear a talk by Sr. Josemaria Pence at the AWAKEN event! Sister a Nashville Dominican.

For those who have been humoring me on my little journey, you already know that each day in 2019, I am endeavoring to point out an fantastic human that I spot around me and write a few words about why I think he or she makes a positive difference in the world. I try to take cues from my day and let the Lord do the choosing. Today, our good and gracious God yelled a little louder than usual.

What I already knew from my own observations over the past 4 years or so was that Sr. Josemaria is a sunny, joyful woman. Neither of my recent Guerin Catholic graduates had her as a teacher during their time as “Golden Eagles” but I have a fondness for religious men and women, so I’d been paying more attention to her than she might suspect. I know, I know….that’s a little creepy? The truth is, I’m drawn to the joy I have noticed in all the women I’ve encountered who are Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, just like Sr. Josemaria. Who doesn’t want to bask in the warmth a little? When I heard that she was speaking, I offered my rosary for her efforts today to be fruitful, which they certainly were.

It turns out, while she’s on loan to us here in central Indiana, Sr. Josemaria actually hails from Minnesota. She shared with us today about her family and her vocation story, and It’s one I won’t even attempt to retell in a few words here, but in her generosity, I found myself feeling filled by Christ as I listened. She’s genuine, and her smile is infectious. She’s the owner of a hilarious, self-deprecating sense of humor. She’s a devoted daughter of the Church who is clearly filled with zeal, enthusiasm and love of the Lord. Her laugh and her smile are kind. In short, my time in her presence today left me feeling refreshed, renewed, and incredibly grateful.

Thank you, Sr. Josemaria, for the courage it must have taken to say YES in such a powerful way to Jesus with your life. Your cannonball into the deep end of the pool, it turns out, has allowed Him to splash all over your beautiful life and the rest of us nearby are a little drenched too. How great is that?? The beautiful way you love Christ is inspiring, and I know that your students experience God’s infinite love for them through your efforts each day! I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOU!

*NOTE: If you would like to know more about the Nashville Dominicans, please visit their website at http://www.nashvilledominican.org.http://nashvilledominican.org

Mad for…Kelly

Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices. -St. Teresa of Avila

I chose one of my favorite saint quotes to share with you today as I honor St. Louis de Montfort junior high math teacher, Kelly Hauschild. You see, Kelly has had more than her fair share of struggles over the last few years, and I thought maybe one of the great women of the Catholic Church could provide her some solace today!

It’s hard enough to be the mother of a big, beautiful brood of children at home, but teaching math to 6th, 7th and 8th graders is also remarkably challenging. When one adds to that set of large responsibilities some outside struggles which have called forth all the reserves in a person, well, I guess what I am feeling today is the need to ask you all to just keep Kelly in your prayers.

It wasn’t that long ago that I found myself collecting gift cards and cash for Kelly. The Hauschild family suffered a major fire at their Fishers home a couple years back. When I visited, meeting her there to share what I could from the generous people of SLDM, it was a scene that took my breath away. However frazzled she was at the time, Kelly had her wits about her and seemed genuinely grateful that her family members were all safe. Certainly, it could have been much worse. The family has recovered from that episode, and they handled it with as much grace as they could. I so admired their perseverance.

In more recent weeks, I’ve learned that Kelly has endured 4 surgeries since the beginning of the year after suffering a fall on the ice during what I am calling the LONGEST WINTER EVER. It might not technically be the longest, but the lack of sunshine and cold weather has surely tested me as never before. During these frozen weeks, outside of Kohls, Kelly broke both bones in her right arm and dislocated her wrist, among other injuries. She has more metal in her arm than bone at this point, and well, my heart goes out to her. Suffering is just no fun at all!!

It’s easy during these times to allow your mind to be filled with anger or frustration, but I know Kelly to be a courageous woman of faith, so I am certain she will forge through this time with her head up! For many years, Kelly has been the brains behind the 8th grade Washington DC trip, a wonderful and very organized time filled with blessings for our students. She joyfully and reverently guides the 8th graders through the process of putting on the Living Stations of the Cross each Lent at SLDM, an event that the students always look forward to, and the parents treasure. She does an excellent job, always, of communicating about grade school graduation events for the kiddos as well. She does all these things with precise attention to detail, and with ample compassion and care.

So, as Kelly clings to the cliff a little this spring, I think it’s important to remind her to anchor herself in the solid rock of our Lord and Savior, but also…to let her know how much her efforts and positive attitude make an impact for many children and many families each day and each year. KELLY, we so appreciate you! Hang in there! We are praying for you, and we hope you know you are loved!

Join me in saying this prayer for Kelly….

Loving God, I pray that You will comfort Kelly in her suffering, lend skill to the hands of her healers, bless the means used for her cure, and provide others to help her as she struggles. Give her such confidence in the power of Your grace, that even when she is afraid, she will put her whole trust in You. Through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mad for…Faith

Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter. (St. Padre Pio)

Today’s beautiful birthday girl is Faith Ryder! Faith is a freshman at Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville, Indiana. She’s the much loved daughter of Tom and Meg Ryder, and also she’s a joyful and fantastic young woman.

Since she was a very small girl attending St. Louis de Montfort grade school, Faith was unceasingly filled with the joy of the Lord. She always had a smile to share, and each time I came into contact with her, she greeted me with enthusiasm. Let’s be honest, there is very little that beats a sunny young lady who calls out, “Hi, Mrs. Thieme! I hope you are having the best day!”

Faith is bright and kind. She apparently is also quite a talented equestrian. I know so little about horses that I’m not even sure I’ve said that right…but I have seen this gal and her horses and just so many ribbons over the years. That’s kind of unique, and certainly a very cool, special talent. However, it’s not the reason I chose to honor her today!

What makes Faith stand out is that she seems to be aware, even at the tender age of 15, that she is the beloved child of the King! I’ve listened as she cantored at all-school mass, so filled with the love of Christ. Those same sparkle-filled eyes are the ones that never failed to say hello to a parent or a younger child in her path as I watched from a distance over the years. We adults who work in lunchrooms, at retreats, on the playground, or helping in the classroom….well…we get to know the children in the school. What makes Faith breathtakingly beautiful to me is the way she treats those around her– including carpool moms like yours truly. None of us gets it right 100% of the time, but this young lady has been caught red-handed in many acts of faithfulness and love towards others by this particular (relative stranger) over the years. We could all use a little scoop of that brand of kindness, Faith! I wish I’d said something sooner.

Faith, thank you for the simple yet jaw-droppingly gorgeous example of how we should treat others– with our smile on full display and our arms extended in love! For all the times you greeted me with your warm smile and quick hello over the years, I am grateful! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET GIRL! I hope your day has been half as spectacular as you!

Mad for…Fr. Pat

May God grant you always…a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you, laughter to cheer you, faithful friends near you, and wherever you pray, Heaven to hear you. –An Irish Blessing

Day 76 of 365.

It seems only appropriate to recognize today, on the feast of St. Patrick, a Roman Catholic priest by the same name. Today is the feast of his namesake, so I’ve chosen a man who I have known since my oldest son was in the 2nd grade. That same kid is now a college junior! Nick was in the very first group of grade school children at St. Louis de Montfort to have their first reconciliation and receive their first communion from Fr. Pat Click. In the years that followed, Fr. Pat was present for two more first communions as well as the confirmation mass of my oldest son. We’re thankful to him for conferring on all of us the sacraments over many years.

Fr. Pat spent some time before he moved to Fishers as the Pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on the Purdue University campus. I’m fairly certain it was this assignment that gave him such great affinity for my beloved Boilermakers. We’ve traded some excitement about some fun Purdue football and basketball victories over the years!

The special quality evident in Fr. Pat that I have noticed over the decades is his unique ability to provide comfort to those who are mourning. Many, many families have been the recipient of his pastoral giftedness in this area over the years, including my own. His presence and his words were powerfully helpful when my mother-in-law, Jane Thieme, passed away. I was grateful at that challenging time, and my gratitude remains. I know that there are so many others who have had a similar compassion-filled experience at what is a truly challenging time in life– as we mourn.

Thank you, Fr. Pat, for the gift of your thoughtful service to so many families over the years. We hope you are having a FANTASTIC St. Patrick’s Day and we wish you many blessings now and always!