Welcome to January, one of the longest and certainly the coldest month of the year.
During these long days of January chores can become burdens. How often are we adding “scorecards” to our marriages, work relationships, and friendships?
In our home, we all like to walk the dogs on the beautiful sunny days, but when the wind is whipping, the temperatures drop and the days are grey we start up with the “scorecard.” I have been know to exclaim to anyone who wants to listen “It’s your turn to walk them, I walked them twice already today”.
Who wants to walk the dogs when it’s cold out? If you have the ability, be the one!
Sincerely, Trish…Because folks, what else matters but love? Listen here.
Poor me. Recently, I heard my friend say..”this is it, I’ve had it with entertaining. I have hosted this person several times and she has never reciprocated. That’s it.” Keeping score. Yikes, made me think, who has invited me places that I have not reciprocated?
Folks, keeping score is petty. There is no such thing as 50/50. Keeping score holds us back. Keeping score pits person against person. Be on the same team. Be the person who does more and that is your greatest reward. When you invest in your relationships, you invest in love. What else matters? Who cares who empties the dishwasher and hangs up the coats? If you have the ability, do it. You win by giving. Love is an investment. There is nothing out there more important than love.
Before we get into our new resolutions or goals, it’s important to reflect on the 2016 and give ourselves some credit for things that went well. I pushed myself to entertain more, travel more and celebrate important dates in our lives. I started out having a dinner party a month but once summer hit, so did my motivation. But, I picked up on traveling. The Hotel Hershey, Montreal, Quebec and Bermuda were all part of 2016. Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary was done in grand style. I’m pushing myself but I know I need to push harder. This blog and podcast also been consistent for over a year now and I want to add improvements to this too!
Today I bring back one of our favorite guests- LIZ!- because she is so bubbly and is a mother of 5 children. She stays organized despite different schools and activities and is always trying to create fun space in her home to help her children thrive. Lately she has really enjoyed the added lights of the Christmas season and lighting candles at dinner. You’ll have to listen to her list of goals.
Liz talks New Year Goals. Press Here.
Liz is always a source of why not you? …and has such a good spirit.
My list of resolutions seems to just come so easily for me now. As I try to live each day to become the best I can be, I feel what helps me the most is to trust more. To simply trust in the promises of my faith and believe in the ever after life. I draw so much strength from prayers and quiet reflections. I try to go to daily mass and that helps me so much in drawing closer to our Lord and the saints, especially the Blessed mother.
So for 2017 and beyond…Here is my list.
Plan a new activity a month
and most of all
One step at a time, one day at a time.
Hug more, Love more, encourage more…all lessons learned from the way Natalie lived.
There are certain people in all of our lives that makes us look better. They contribute a lot by sharing their thoughts, introducing you to new things and doing things for you that no one really knows about. But you do. And you know no one can take their place. My daughter Caroline is that person who definitely contributes a lot to my life and introduces me to wonderful things. For example, she recently introduced me to…vegenaise.
Buy some vegenaise!
Wait, what is vegenaise? It is a mayonnaise without the guilt. It is an mayo using only expeller-pressed oils. It has the smooth creamy texture of mayo without any of the artificial ingredients, trans fats or preservatives.
You cannot help but notice how much Gwyneth Paltrow likes to use it either.
In her cookbook “It’s All Good” , Gwyneth says “basically cannot live without vegenaise – it’s a little out of control.” She even admits to schlepping it with them if they are going somewhere that doesn’t have it. Ok, I’m game to try it. It’s tasty too.
Here is the recipe folks!
She calls for it in her green goodness salad dressing. My, my. It’s a lot of gathering up of fresh herbs (basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, & tarragon), scallions, avocado, vegenaise, raw honey, lemon, olive oil, water, and salt and pepper. Mix all that in a blender and puree till it’s the green goodness masterpiece for your salad, or your cut veggies.
Yes to green goodness homemade salad dressing on my lunch today!
Here is to a healthy you. Here is to a healthy new salad dressing. Here is to 2017.
We all feel so much better when we feed our body the good green stuff.
A homemade salad dressing is so worth the time to make.
Try some vegenaise! And thank you Caroline and Gwyneth for your contributions. Cheers.
This time of year is so sweet- I mean literally. Sweet. It is full of delicious treats combining decadent flavors, that are hard to resist. Why would anyone choose to eat healthy, not drink alcohol and lay off sugar, carbohydrates, all dairy and processed foods during the holidays?
It just came to me. Go against the grain.
Caroline prepared this amazing pasture raised roasted chicken with radishes that was simply delicious.
Advent is the time to prepare for the birth of our savior. If we are going to live our mission this season to truly prepare for His birth, then why would we over indulge, gain weight, put junk in our bodies, feel uncomfortable in our clothes, drink too much and strain our internal organs? A time of preparation, directing my thoughts to when I was preparing for the birth of my own children, and how I took no chances during my pregnancy. When a woman is expecting a child, she would not drink alcohol and fill her body with processed foods. A future mom will eat nutritious foods, fruits, greens and proteins, water, and vitamins . She will carefully ponder what to eat. I want to unite my heart with the Blessed Mother’s and eat like I would if I were expecting a baby, I want to prepare for our Savior’s birth the same way.
Inspired by the thought of uniting myself to prepare for the birth of our savior, I thought YES, I will change my ways this Advent. I will feel good about what I eat. I will connect with my body. I will eat sensibly and say no to daily multiple temptations out there. I will refrain from starch, pizza, muffins, bread, crackers, cheese, candy. I will eat lean meats, lots of fruits, vegetables and salads. I will cut out all fried food and butter. I will practice portion control and drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. I will say no thank you when handed a drink and say yes to a sparkling water. I will feel the best I can inside. I want to prepare myself mind, body and spirit for the new born king.
Press Here to listen to Sincerely, Trish
Christmas Episode. Eating less before Christmas.
I will say yes to Christmas decorations. I will prepare my heart, my home, and my body for the coming of our Savior. After all, the greatest gift I have, my life, my freedom to practice my faith, all come through Him, and that is the best way I can honor Him. After all, a man who sacrificed all for us, deserves to be prepared for this way.
Shouldn’t we all be doing this? By choosing to eat good for you foods, you avoid bloating, regret and embarrassment. Shouldn’t we all prepare ourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally for the birth of baby Jesus? But our society teaches us and children all the opposite. Most of us gain 5 to 10 pounds in 4 weeks.
Lean meats, salad, golden beets…oh so beauty the bounty of nature.
Now, I am not a Grinch here, I am excited to enjoy some of the treats this world has given us. I love the colors of decorated cookies and all the sights and fragrances. I love the family recipes and the traditions of making the same treats each year. There is a time to indulge in gingerbread flavors, peppermint ice cream, and Christmas cookies…it’s on Christmas Day! The celebratory day, the birth of our Lord, the reason for my being. I will celebrate then, happily, like I do for my own children’s birthday. It will feel special, whole, and worthwhile.
Yes you can make delicious meatballs without breadcrumbs and cheese….grind the herbs and ground turkey together…delicious!
This advent my spirituality is heightened. And it’s because I chose to prepare myself from the inside out for the birth of our savior. It’s an invitation open to all of us. All women, if they have experienced motherhood or not, can feel a connection to Our Blessed Lady by uniting with her during this time of Advent. Men also, out of respect for fatherhood and in regards to the sacrifices made for them by their own mothers, can unite in this holding off indulgences ( or even some) until Christmas Day!
Check out my Instagram, (poodlewalker1) I have been posting of my carefully prepared means. I started the hash tag #greensgreensproteins, weight came off, energy picked up, I felt more beautiful inside and that made me look better on the outside.
Sounds crazy to prepare your body for the birth of our savior. But folks, He is our savior for all of us, why not clean up our body for his birth? Goal setting and preparation just adds to the joy on Christmas Day.
My inspiration for today’s post is from a “wish list” I happened to see from a very special high school senior. She wrote down personal goals and the direction that she wanted to go in the New Year. At first, I thought it was going to be a Christmas wish list of gifts….Apple watch, running shoes, Kate Spade purse, even a Herschel backpack …but no, on her list was making a music play list, spending more time in prayer, seeing God in nature and spend more times outdoors. I was so touched. What a beautiful list. In a way, it is a self development list.
What is your wish list? I have asked myself that question.
My wish list is as follows:
1. Appreciate more the people in my life when they are alive and let them know! Recognize their talents and tell them! Make your own hall of fame: induct people in their own way! Emphasize people’s talents, people’s ability to do what they do best. Simply pointing out the good in others. Our world is so beautiful and we need to thank all the people who put in the effort. If someone starts a business…congratulate them. If someone runs a race…be sure to recognize that!
2. Be more organized so that your home is always “Guest worthy”. Always have an open door policy so when anyone drops by, you can focus on them, not cleaning clutter. I know this is something I need to work on.
3. Set priories and stop the distractions. Focus on where you want to go. Everything in life can be accomplished with accountability, toward yourself. Get clear on where you want to go…new job, lose weight, plan a vacation, find an alternative way to generate more income, or start a blog. Invest in yourself to become a more influential person for the good…read more, take a class, learn skills, attend seminars, so that you do not become stagnant. Even the smallest step towards self development is a big step.
4.Plan and schedule more time for dinner out with friends or invite people to come to your home, and cook for them. A meal is always a time to share a peaceful couple of hours. There is nothing like connecting with friends and letting them now how much they matter to you.
5. Leading by example. You do not need to be a leader to set examples for others. You do not need a title to be a leader. Be an example to others where and when you can. Start with your family and do little things for them. It can be as simple as cleaning up after yourself, and doing things for the house. Soon it will rub off on others. Leaders know how to finish a task and motivate others. Not by nagging or commanding, simply by their example.
You will find a wish list to be much more satisfying than any material gift out there. But a Wish List needs to be something you don’t just wish but you make a step forward to make it happen.
One thing I really enjoy about not only going away, but also coming back from vacations, is gaining a new perspective. You tend to come home with a new appreciation for all that you have and what you are interested in changing in your life. From the moment you fly above the clouds, or hit the roads, you are not in your normal surroundings and that leads to a brain stimulation. Now that we are home, and it is early December, my mind is opened and I have made these 3 observations:
Flying above the clouds & you see the grand creation of this earth you wonder why trivial things get to you.
1. Fuss. We all want to leave a wonderful example. How often have a heard someone say…”I normally don’t bother with lights or a big tree but my grandson is visiting this year!” or “my daughter is introducing us to her out of town boyfriend so we decided to splurge and have tenderloin for dinner this year.” All of this “stepping up” seems so encouraging to me. It means we are trying more because we care that much more. How easy is it to throw in the towel and not fuss or prepare our house because of the effort involved? Hey, it’s Christmas, the day the Savior the World is born….let’s keep on fussing, we have all of Advent as a time of preparation!!
2. Holiday Lights. There is no questions that the days are short, grey and dreary. Just when you didn’t want to go outside past 4 pm anymore, Presto! Christmas lights! What a beautiful sight. From twinkling icicles, to illuminating wreaths, the effort people put into decorating the exterior of their house does not go unnoticed. I know it’s dark too early but because of these lights on the inside out outside of homes it is so joyful to see the beautiful lights. I made sure I already drove my mom around to enjoy the beauty of various neighborhoods. You cannot help but think “be the light, lights are happy, lights brighten the world you up. Light always conquers darkness”. And always compliment someone who decorated, they put in an effort to make this season more beautiful and bright, they deserve a compliment! Sing it loud..”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”
Hang up decorations, decorate the dogs, spread cheer…and compliment those who make the effort.
3. Greens, greens and more greens. Green is becoming my favorite color, full of renewal and life. The evergreen tree is a little reminder to “be green” and be true to the Earth. The Evergreen maintains all of its leaves and needles throughout the year. Contrasting with all other trees which cycle through the seasons gaining and shedding leaves in their own beauty. Evergreens are full of stability, strength, and a symbol for the Christmas spirit. Representing our faith as unwavering, especially to prepare for the birth of Jesus. The natural aroma of pine will immediately uplift you, make you take an extra deep breath, and enjoy the season we are lucky enough to share.
“There’s a little note for you on the kitchen table”
In this busy, high tech world, I find myself missing the little notes left on the kitchen table. Like many of you, our little family has a group text in which we correspond throughout the day. The group texts read usually something like this…I should be home regular time….don’t forget about the event this Thursday night…and are you working this Saturday? Text messages are incredible. Fast, up to the minute, convenient, easy, and you can personalize with emojis.
Yet I know nothing beats walking into your home after a long day and finding a little note. It usually would come in the form of a quick scribble on the back on an envelope. Many times, its a simple reminder of an upcoming appointment or simply letting you know who called.
The little kitchen note was always there to welcome you when no one was at home. You know you could always grab the latest whereabouts on the kitchen table. “Dinner in crock pot. Be back soon.” or “Dad working late, does not need dinner.” You did not need to sign your name because your handwriting gave it away. Oh, and how slighted you would feel if you came home and no one was home and there was no kitchen note! Now that was a clear disappointment! You can almost hear the follow up when the first person arrived home…”Where is everybody? No one left a note!”
The other day, I woke up to a beautiful little note waiting for me on the kitchen table. I was so touched. It was from my daughter Caroline. She noticed things I was doing to make myself better. She didn’t text me her observation, she left me a little note on the kitchen table. The message was so much more potent and compelling than any text message because it was hand written. What a beautiful way to begin my day with that little note. It made me think of how much I value the little kitchen notes and the preciousness of the family. We can talk, we can text but when we write a little note with butter and coffee stains on it…it commands a little more emotion.
Never miss a chance to write a little note and leave it on the kitchen table.
Last night we went out for dinner to Bonefish Grill. I understand we are to patronize local restaurants but I do have a fond affection for this particular chain. It simply grew last night. You can always expect the white table cloth, a heavy strong silverware, deliciously prepared entrees and good service. Of course, we all are fans of the bang bang shrimp and since we were celebrating birthday week for our son, I did not want to over-indulge the first night of the week. I normally go for the tilapia fish or the scallops and shrimp but for some reason the filet mignon caught my eye on the menu. My husband looked at me and gleefully asked “do you want to split a dinner?” Absolutely!
There is no question that the serving size we receive is too big in America. Yet, splitting a dinner makes you feel cheap, or silly, and you want to apologize to your server. Have you ever been out to a restaurant where you are charged a fee for split plate charge? You are handed an empty plate and charged an additional 2 to 5 dollars? You can also tell the server is not thrilled with you. But my motivation is not to be cheap it is for my heath and to eat a portion size that is not going to risk a tossing and turning night ahead and an extra pound on the scale.
Here he is the Birthday Boy…find strength in lifting people around you up!
So today, my blog post is a sincere thank you for the lovely and accommodating service we received last night from our server at Bonefish Grill. Evan was so happy with his portion of the filet mignon and had a side of the garlic whipped potatoes. I was so pleased with my filet and garlic sautéed spinach. No split plate fee. Of course the birthday boy had a full dinner. But, he will always be, at least to his parents, “Our growing boy.”
I have a close friend who finds a great deal going to PF Changs for Happy Hour between 3 and 6 Monday thru Friday where you can take advantage of drink specials and starters and small plates for $6.00. “That’s all you need is a six dollar plate. It fills you right up.” It’s the perfect place for her to go with her daughter and catch up on her life.
Busted in another chain restaurant, but Panera has great options. Thank you Panera. It feels good to let people know how much they matter.
That’s my little tip today. Everything I do now I try to be more intentional. I use to think that once your kids are grown they do not need any fuss. Not true, because of Natalie and her desire to celebrate others, we are celebrating birthday week for our son, and tonight we are going to a local place. I’ll let you know if there is a split plate charge.
Folks, make the effort. Celebrate others. Never miss a chance to let people know that they are needed in this world. And never be intimidated to ask to split the dinner!
I’m going to give it to you straight. We really have no idea how much our loved ones need our prayers. I’m afraid that our culture is moving away from the need of masses, prayers and sacrifices. We are caught up in posting about them (guilty) and not doing what is the most essential… praying for their soul.
Save all the memorial cards of loved ones from funerals and tuck them in your family bible for safe keeping.
I want to share with you the….
“Top 3 Ways to Celebrate All Saints and All Souls Day”
Have masses said for the beloved dead. We cannot ever presume that they are in heaven, they may be in purgatory and getting closer and closer to Heaven. Visualize being able to see the finish line but just need a little more…c’mon…let’s help those loved ones get there and have masses and simply pray for them!
Visit the grave site. Fix it up. I have heard to sprinkle holy water around. Look up to the sky and pray for all the dead that are buried near your loved one. Take the time to show your children and others where family members and loved ones are buried. Imagine how much the souls appreciate your prayers. If someone helped you on earth, now we can help them by offering prayers on their behalf.
Offer it Up! Doing little sacrifices throughout the day help you to get through the mundane tasks with a smile. What the world sees as unimportant is often the most important to our Lord. The tedious, behind the scenes, no accolades or honors kind of work. It’s doing laundry or the dishes when you don’t want to, it’s resisting something to eat, it’s making dinner after a long day because in making these sacrifices you can “Offer it Up” to poor souls in purgatory who are in need of our prayers. What high value is now placed our ordinary and wearisome tasks!
This past week I had the privilege of speaking before the National Veterinary Associates who held a conference here in Buffalo. An established relationship with a friend that I met during our active years at the Junior League of Buffalo, Bethany Botzenhart who knew our story, asked me to speak about our dogs. She knew the power of healing these dogs gave us from following along on my Instagram account poodlewalker1. Bethany is a strong reminder that our associations are truly life enhancers.
I spoke about this blog. I spoke about how I use to write Christmas letters which were always filled with laughter with stories of everything that has always mattered most..faith, and family.
It helps to look back and see that even going back to my first posts confirmed that our life was deeply rooted in our Catholic faith. Those deep roots saved us. We needed to dig deep into our faith. We are so thankful our faith was in place. Faith does not prevent the tragedies in life but it is there to catch and save you.
Our dogs were also there. No matter how trivial it may seem…our dogs gave us immesureable comfort.
These crazy dogs Rory and Lucy held us together in a very real way. Yes, a standard poodle and a cockapoo. One a better listener, more attuned to our emotions, more obedient, with her only desire to please. The other is the one we call “Baby”, she is the one we give belly rubs and attracts children on our walks and to our home. They are quite a team and proof that size and breed doesn’t matter.
Here is Natalie with Rory at the Farmers Market in Buffalo not long ago. They are both natural beauties and reminders of all the beauty found in nature.
The dogs became our buffer, our way of coping of the painful reality of what has happened has really happened. Each of us, my husband, son and daughter needed those dogs more than we care to admit. Each of us has an unique relationship with each dog. When we needed time to grieve alone, a dog was grabbed before entering a room. We needed their comfort. We needed to touch, and feel and we needed to pet them.
There is no question that dogs live a selfless life and dedicate themselves to their pack. They look to serve their master and are constant companions in our home.
Dogs are life coaches without trying. They are certainly not our whole life yet they make a house a home and add wholeness to our lives.
It would be so easy to stay in our house and close the shades but the dogs depended on us for walks. Going outside and walking in all kinds of weather was incredibly therapeutic. The dogs reminded us how to breath in the outside air, how to look around, pay attention to all the little details on walks, the sights and smells, and the simple joy of walking. One foot in front of the other and looking up at the big magnificent sky.
Natalie with Lucy.
The most important benefit of walking was connecting again with our wonderful neighbors who are not only familiar with the dogs but also shared in watching Natalie grow up and flourish before their eyes. There was no barrier for people to stay away from us because we were out sharing hugs and compassionate conversations. To eliminate the awkward barrier was crucial. Those dogs made sure no one stayed away and our hearts are so filled with gratitude to all the examples of beautiful friendships and neighbors.
The dogs added an enormous feeling of life back into our homes. They helped us feel alive again. When you hear the dog toys squeaking, the paws pattering across the hardwood floor and the loud barking every time the mail carrier, UPS delivery or someone passed our house..you can’t help but feel on alert.
Dogs will always listen. I think that is why God created them with such big ears. Dogs never tell you what you are doing wrong, they simply enjoy that you are there. You are present. That is enough. Dogs connect us and without Lucy we would not have visitors like our dear friend Sylvia who we joke doesn’t need vaccinations because she has received so many dog kisses slobbered on her face.
Sylvia is a frequent visitor due to her friendship with Lucy.
I get a kick out of all the vocabulary words they know and how dogs know exactly what we are saying. Dogs even enjoy when we pray the rosary. Sure, they lay at our feet quietly and know that peace is filling our hearts.
Our lives will never return to what they were and our wound is so deep, yet we know Natalie touched so many by her smile and laugh, her kindness, her joy and her discipline and willingness to help others. We all miss her in different ways.
The dogs are looking out the front window ready to bark at any passerby.
It’s crystal clear to us now the more you focus on how temporary this life is the more you focus on what is important. Value life. Value each day. Love your family. Keep it together. Draw your strength together during good times and bad. Marriage is sacred. Be there. Be present. Be loyal like the dog. Show you care, be kind to each other, don’t blame each other, be gentle. Love. And above all else..Hold onto your faith. Celebrate the life rather than the death because the fullness of life is with God Our Father and Our Blessed Lady forever.
Oh, and you know that old expression, “Live each day like it’s your last?” I think we learned that from dogs.