James Francis Schroeder was born in Indianapolis on the 2nd of April in 1977, but was raised in Evansville, Indiana for most of his life. Just a few miles away, his future wife, Amy Lehman, was being brought up atop Reitz Hill overlooking the Ohio River. Both would share the same school hallways, modest homes, old cars and hardworking parents. After graduating high school, Jim attended Ball State University while Amy enrolled at the University of Evansville. They were married in 2000, and a few weeks later moved to St. Louis where Amy began teaching and Jim started his doctorate program in clinical psychology at Saint Louis University .
The next six years would later be referred to as the first part of their marriage, as Jim trained in St. Louis for 4 years and Amy taught as a 2nd grade teacher. They moved in 2004 after Jim accepted an internship at Kosair Children’s Hospital through the University of Louisville, School of Medicine. Amy took a new job as a middle school teacher in Louisville, and again the following year upon their return to St. Louis for Jim’s postdoctoral fellowship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine.
After six years without children, an unforgettable visit to the OBGYN introduced them to their twins! Zachary and Emma were born in June of 2006, and the second part of their marriage officially opened. So did the flood gates, as Matthew followed in 2008, Noah in 2010, Will in 2011, Louis in 2013, and most recently Samuel in 2017. Just like that, the Schroeder’s had grown from two to nine, and what previously seemed busy was nothing compared to the blessing of the frenetic days upon them. “Dense and intense” became an often repeated descriptor of their family, with boredom an unlikely, but welcomed commodity. God’s gifts were alive and real!
Meanwhile, as the family continued to grow, so did a number of other areas. Upon realizing that he was going to be the father of twins, Jim realized that he had grown complacent with his health and became motivated to make a positive change. So, a couple of months before Zach and Emma were born, he completed his first half-marathon. As Amy would later say, a spark was really lit after a serendipitous meeting years later. Throughout the next 11 years, he was blessed to finish the 2011 Ironman, 4 ultra-marathons, a 200 half-day bike ride,15 biking centuries, and a number of backpacking and other endurance endeavors.
As the endurance events and the family grew, so did the writing and speaking for mental health, medical, religious, and local media outlets. It all became part of a greater mission of “wholiness” – the synonymous drive of holiness and wholeness in all aspects of our being: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. As a psychologist, father, and husband, it became apparent that the lifelong search of happiness, health, and harmony were intricately linked to the pursuit of wholiness. And so as the Schroeder family looks to grow in this way, we look to unite with others who desire this, too.