Charlene Quint Kalebic

Inspiration Break – Loving Fiercely: Remembering a Mother’s Love


Inspiration Break – Loving fiercely


I had the honor of attending the funeral for the mother of a good friend this past month.  Many folks avoid funerals for a variety of reasons.  But I think it is a privilege to attend the service of a loved one of a friend.  Of course, I want to support a friend who desperately needs support at that time in life.  And, from personal experience, I know nothing else quite says “I care” as someone’s physical presence at a difficult time. But I also have some wonderful, amazing friends who inspire me every day – and I want to know what makes the friend I know and love, the friend I know and love.  Behind every wonderful, amazing, inspiring person is another wonderful, amazing, inspiring person who has influenced them to rise above the mediocrity and be that person that they were created to be.  By attending a memorial service, the essence of the lost loved one is celebrated and honored, and one sees his or her legacy in the children and grandchildren. 


For most of us, we seldom realize that our influence – the way we live our lives, the words we say, our actions towards others – not only affects those around us, but can last for generations, often literally hundreds of years.  How many times can a person trace his blessings of a loving family, a good work ethic and a solid education back to a beloved grandfather or grandmother? On the other hand, sadly, how often can a person trace his misfortunes back to an absent or uncaring father, grandfather and back down the line? A memorial service puts one’s life in perspective.  And for the life that has been well-lived, I find attending a memorial service a blessing  – a blessing of comfort to those who have lost their loved one, and a blessing to me, to inspire me to be a better person.


And so, on a cold December day, I listened as the children of Ruth Helen Anderson remembered their mom, and what about her made them the people they are today.  Through the tears and the laughter the stories came from children and even grandchildren, now successful adults, who adored their mother.  And their mother adored them.  There was no doubt that the Spirit of God was in that little chapel that day, and that He dwelled in each of her children.  But the one thing that gripped my heart the most, that made me grab a pen and write it down, was what her daughter shared:  “We are who we are because we have been loved completely and sacrificially.  We always knew we were loved fiercely.”


How true that is for each one of us.  What love without end – love with no bounds – can do!  When we know that we are loved completely, sacrificially, and fiercely by those we trust the most – by our heavenly Father, by a parent and by our spouse – it gives us wings to soar and the confidence to move mountains.  And when we fall flat, it gives us a safe place to go back to, to get loved on, to be encouraged, and then to have the guts to go out and try again.  And if we do it right, just like Ruth’s family, someday, long after we have entered heaven’s gates, our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will achieve the impossible because down deep in their foundation, embedded in their DNA, they knew they were loved – and loved fiercely.  


So, if you are at a loss as to what your New Year’s Resolution should be this year, and every year hereafter, take a page from Ruth’s play book of life and make sure the people in your life know they are loved completely, sacrificially — and fiercely.


Happy New Year

Charlene Quint Kalebic


p.s.  The lives of people like Ruth and her husband inspired me to write a framed sympathy gift that is now included in The Blessings Collection entitled “A Prayer as your Mother is Welcomed Home” and “A Prayer as your Father is Welcomed Home.”   See the prayer and the entire collection at:


Book Review by Book Critic John Cowans







John Cowans, Book Critic at, wrote this lovely review of Angels of Ebermannstadt, which is now on

The sepia photograph on the cover of this tidy little book shows eight small girls dressed in first communion white, holding hands. They are standing outside a church in a small village in Bavaria sometime during the latter days of WW II. They are the Angels of Ebermannstadt, so called by the photographer, an American soldier, Richard Quint, an infantryman who was part of the US force that liberated the village of Ebermannstadt. This is the story of that soldier and his return to that village fifty years later with his daughter, Charlene Quint Kalebic,who joined many allied veterans in 2004 traveling to France and Germany for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. Charlene Quint Kalebic is a practicing attorney residing in Lake Forest, IL. She holds a accounting and business administration, from Augustana College and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. She serves on the Board of Regents and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. This book is not just the story of a soldier’s return to the places where he fought a war years before; it is the story of a reunion and an ensuing friendship; the key by which we gain entrance to the tale is the picture of the little `angels’. In the early 90′s Richard Quint sent his picture to the Burgermeister of Ebermannstadt who published it and identified the `angels’ then in their 60′s; in 1995, Richard and his wife returned to the village to be reunited with these ladies. So began a friendship which was continued in 2004 with Richard’s return to Europe for the D-day celebrations. There have been many quest books written through history, many in recent years, of soldiers returning to places where they did battle. The reasons for these returns are as varied as the soldiers themselves and every one is deeply personal; often these visits were simply to prove to oneself that indeed the places still existed; more often they were returns to visit the graves of comrades. Richard Quint’s reasons are these, of course, but there is more to this moving story; there is a spiritual quality to it which is the obvious undying love and devotion of a daughter for her father. It is this last element that makes The Angels of Ebermannstadt so worthwhile. Charlene Kalebic’s book is nicely presented with many interesting photographs, a proud tribute not just to her father but to all ordinary fighting men who by their commitment to freedom were extraordinary.


For this and other reviews by John Cowans, see



The Gift of Christmas

The Gift

Two thousand years ago, God did not send us a politician -
because we did not need another political leader.

He did not send us a statesman -
because we did not need another diplomat.

He did not send us a scientist -
because we did not need more scientific advancements.

He did not send us a physician -
because we did not need more medical care.

He did not send us an information technology specialist -
because we needed neither more information nor more technology.

He did not send us an economist -
because we did not need more money.

He did not send us a lawyer -
because we did not need more laws.

He did not send us a musician -
because we did not need to be entertained.

Two thousand years ago, God sent us Jesus -
because then, as now, we needed Love.

Blessings this Christmas and always,





Inspiration Break – The Magical Nutcracker


I have only seen one ballet in my life.  But I have seen that one nearly twenty times.  The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theater here in Chicago ( has become a tradition for Christy and I to share together since she was old enough to sit still long enough to see it.  Each year we look forward to dressing up, inviting a girlfriend or two, carefully selecting a nutcracker to add to our growing collection, and treating ourselves to the elegance and beauty that is unique to the ballet.  My favorite scene is the romantic Arabian Coffee and Tea, while Christy’s is Mrs. Ginger – the gregarious old woman with about 15 children. Even though I have seen it several times now, I try to see the ballet through new eyes each year to get a fresh perspective and discover a renewed delight in this ageless tale.


This year, I focused on the breathtaking interplay between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Nutcracker Prince.  The Sugar Plum Fairy was exquisite in her sequins and pearls and tiara as she daintily twirled and tip-toed on pointe across the floor with diaphanous wings.  Beauty and elegance personified.  As she danced, her handsome prince gazed on her from afar – admiring and adoring her every delicate graceful step.  When it was his turn, the prince leapt and bounded across the room in an amazing show of power and strength, as the fairy princess lovingly looked upon her chivalrous white knight who had come to her rescue. 


Each of their individual dances was impressive.  But when they came together –  this was when the ballet became magical.


Together, their graceful bodies were in complete harmony and their performance was more magnificent than they could ever be individually.  He balanced her as she pirouetted gracefully in place.  She soared in the air as his steady arms carried her high above his head.  In complete trust, she ran and leapt into his strong yet welcoming arms, knowing that he would catch her and embrace her in a loving cradle.  Their timing was flawless as their bodies intertwined.  And together, his masculine strength and passion combined with her feminine beauty and grace made the enchanted fairy tale spring to life.   We were bewitched by their spell.


As I sat mesmerized watching the rest of the ballet, my mind wandered as I thought that this intricate, romantic, graceful dance is a beautiful model for every couple, regardless of whether or not we have  our pointe shoes.   How lovely it would be if every gallant prince cherished his princess, not for being like him, but for everything she is that is different from him – beauty, grace, delicateness, and elegance.  How sweet life would be if every princess gazed upon her prince charming as her courageous knight in shining armor, appreciating his strength, ruggedness, protection and support.  And how our lives would reflect a little piece of heaven if, together, our dance was magical – a resplendent harmonious combination of loveliness and strength, gracefulness and power, artistry and steadfastness.  Together, soaring higher than either could ever hope to alone.  Completely trusting and completely trustworthy.   Stability and security in this spinning world.   Grace overflowing, elegance in abundance.   Inspiring, blessing, and encouraging  . . .   Ah yes,  magical indeed!


May you find magic with grace overflowing and elegance in abundance this season and always.



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