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Thanksgiving Special


Not a great picture but we are all together


I really want to thank Evan Jr and Caroline for being guests today on the Thanksgiving Show.


Thanksgiving Special. Episode 10. Guests The Lewis Family. Matt Barany. The music group the Cairns. Click Hard.


My dad always sat at the head of the table. Natalie beaming in her purple and white stripped blouse. You don’t get time back. You don’t get people back either.

We put together this Thanksgiving Day special in complete graitude for our previous Thanksgivings and the precious memories that they carry. My earthly father was called home to his father in heaven last Thanksgiving night, and we are all reminded of how treasured each person, each day, and every moment we are alive.

Matt Barany, the coach of the Richmond Spiders swimming team was Natalie’s coach. He joins us on our podcast and reads the only thanksgiving day card he has ever received. What a beautiful summary for all of us to witness on the true graitute that Natalie saw in her relationship with her coach, transformed into a relationship with a  co-worker.


In all his years of coaching, Natalie was the first to send him a Thanksgiving Day card. Home made too.



Coach Matt Barany holding a picture of Natalie in his office at the University of Richmond. Above is the photo of Natalie’s senior year and the 3 seniors walking to pick up the Atlantic 10 Championship trophy.

Whatever your traditions are, be sure to embrace them. For Natalie, she so enjoyed running the turkey trot and enjoying an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.


A tradition that Natalie loved to do is run the Turkey Trot.


There is so much in this world we cannot control. What we can can control is ourselves and our behavior. Embrace your family and friends. Get right with God, be gentle with yourself, eat well, and look to see if other’s are in need.

This show made me reflect on past Thanksgiving. We lost our dad a year ago. What a wonderful dad, husband, doctor, provider, anchor and healer he was. Please find it in yourself to take the time to do what is important to you and your family. Look around your table and be grateful for the people there, remind yourself how beautifully unique each person is. Remember we all have qualities that each other needs to get through life.

Resist the temptation to bicker about the little things such as, who didn’t do this or that..or who did what..forgive and open your heart.

Thank you to Matt Barany for being our guest. Thank you to my family for coming on the podcast. And thank you to the Cairns for the song “People Go”.

 Link to the Cairns’ Facebook page. Like them!




Nicole gives Natalie a big hug on graduation day at the University of Richmond. May 2011.

Home. Episode 9. Guest Nicole LePere

      Yesterday, I let the dogs run free and took them off leash. They loved chasing the squirrels and running up and down the driveways. Yet, it didn’t take long and they sat right next to me. I wondered what it was that always brought them back, then it dawned on me. Nothing is better than being home. Just like for us, any incredible vacations or journeys out there nothing beats coming home. Our bed, home cooked meals, the pets, the laundry, the comfort of wearing your pj’s, your jogging pants, your glasses; you can be yourself. You are loved and accepted.

        Isn’t that just like life? God gives you free will to go out and explore and wander. But nothing is more satisfying than doing the right thing and coming home to our Heavenly Father when we are called to go home.


The famous G unit!! Named because they were in apartment G. Nicole, Katie and Natalie.


Natalie and Nicole recorded memories of their years as student athletes before the graduation ceremony on the large  score board.


Coach Matt enjoyed playing jokes with Natalie because she had the personality for it. Here are the senior swimmers from the class of 2011. Chrissy, Natalie and Nicole.


     Doesn’t it feel great to look out the window when your plane is ready to land in your hometown and you can recognize the familiar sites down below? The comfort of seeing things you can identify and knowing that somethings at home never change? How we would do anything to hear Natalie walk through he door and yell…”I’m home!” in her upbeat voice. We will never know when our Heavenly Father will call us home. But knowing He will welcome you home is our greatest motivation on this earth. He has such love for all of us. Love your home and nurture it. Have faith. It’s your choice. God is there for you to welcome you home.


Be An Ambassador

Be An Ambassador


     There is so much in this world that we have no control over. Watching the news is not good for us. We cannot control our country, our politicians, our weather, or other countries. What we can control is the little part of the world that is right in front of us. I am convinced that every interaction we have is a chance to make a difference someone’s day.

     During this episode, I give stories of how a piece of gum, a compliment on your dogs, and buying breakfast for a stranger changes your day for the better.

      In all of our actions throughout the day, bring out the little voice that says…is there anything at this moment I can do for someone else?

       Our guest today is Crystal Williams. Crystal worked with Natalie as an intern. Now she is the DOBO that was hired post Natalie. She witnessed Natalie and her energy, her smile, her work ethic, her ability to see the bright side of every day and most importantly how she found a way to always make you feel special.


Natalie and Crystal in action in 2013. Here they are in Pittsburgh preparing for a game against the Duquesne Dukes.



Episode 8. Click Here. Guest Crystal Williams. Be An Ambassador



      Thank you Crystal for being a guest on Sincerely, Trish. You are accomplished, beautiful and hard working.

       Let’s all be ambassadors and through our little actions show that we can really show that “Kindness Can Change the World.”

       Sincerely, Trish



The framed picture that sits at the desk of Crystal Williams. Included in this picture is Ginny Doyle. Ginny was the assistant coach for the Richmond Spiders ladies after an outstanding career as a player for the Spiders. Ginny was known for her work ethic, knowledge of the game, her intregrity and her exceptional coaching and devotion to the team.





Visiting Crystal at the Spiders Basketball Office.


One of the cards that Natalie wrote to Crystal. Write down how proud you are of people….let them know!



Natalie and Crystal. They formed a beautiful friendship in a short time. Here they are working together before a game in Pittsburgh.


Natalie’s sister Caroline visits Crystal to share hugs and support.


Crystal now works at the same desk that Natalie did. We are so proud of Crystal and her ability to step into the role as DOBO she is so qualified and worthy for the position. Crystal was a former basketball player and has already earned her Masters of Education in Sports Leadership.


Women We Love

      There is a quote floating around that I see from time to time. “Well behaved women seldom make history.” It got me reflecting on the women who truly make history in our heart. There is a reason they are not in the history book because their lessons and legacy are the ones you carry with you while carving your own path.

         The perfect mother for all of us to model is indeed our Blessed Mother. Here on earth, we look to our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters and friends to to guide us and set examples for us.


Here is Mali with Natalie during a rare down time during the Richmond Spiders training trip in Sarasota, Florida. Natalie was a senior and Mali was a freshman.

Episode 7 Women We Love. Guest Mali Kobelja

Click Here



The beautiful Mali Kobelja. She is one of the most decorated swimmers to come out of the Atlantic 10 conference.


Natalie has on her “concerned face.” She took to the time to listen and care which is a great trait in leadership and friendship.


A letter Natalie wrote to Mali. A perfect example of the mirror image. Seeing good in others that are inside you .Again, the gift of a hand written card.


Natalie would light up when she talked about Michael and anyone she loved.

     Lessons that Mali learned from Natalie. In love you need to give and initiate communications and take the time to show you care. Talk honestly about who you love and let them know you love them. Love is a light. Light up the world with love.

      Take time to care for one another. Put the concerned face on. The best women we know are not in history books. They are women who walk along side of you, made you dinner, gave you encouragement and make a lasting impression on your heart.

Sincerely, Trish

The Family


Everyday with Natalie was special. “Natalie was able to make everything hard in life easier” said best friend Katie Sieben.


EPISODE 6. The Family. Guest Katie Sieben. Click Here:


The family is the core of society. Nurture it. Value it. Love it.


Natalie and Katie on another adventure.



Here is the picture of the kids on our tour of NYC in 2006. Natalie was a junior in High School. Our kids had not left for college yet.


Inside the chambers of the United Nations building, the large picture shows the family being the core of human existence. Excuse the quality of the picture. It was taken on 2006 on our trip to NYC.

The family is really the core of society and human existence. When the family goes so does society.

There are a few things that can contribute to a closer more united family.

1. Don’t expect so much from your spouse. How often do we say “I wish he would do this..or that..why can’t he finish what he started?” “I wish he/she was more like…” Go easy one at other. After all, there is only one God.

2. Slow down the busyness. Talk to one another, ask how their day was, engage in each others lives. It is amazing how much conversation and compassion gives us insight into what one another is going through when you gather together. Light a candle. Pray. Understand what everyone is going through. Soon you will be asking what you can do to help lessen their burdens.

3. Turn off the Technology. We love everything instant in today’s world. But the old cliche of good things take time, is true. Good, lasting bonds come through spending time with one another rather than constantly relying on distractions and short texts.

4. Love each other’s faults. It makes all of us who we are. Too often we focus on negatives on each other, but it is more important to remember how many positive attributes there are to a person.

5. Open your home to others, and make a family of friends. Because life is just too hard to get through without friends. They are the family we are able to meet in various stages of our life.

6. Enjoy the everyday moments. Contradicting what the word everyday leads you to believe, everyday moments will not be everyday. We grow up, we grow old. But to the eyes of a family, we all remain ageless.

Inside the United Nations building, Natalie took a picture of the mosaic of the Golden Rule.

Inside the United Nations building, Natalie took a picture of the mosaic of the Golden Rule.

The everyday moments of having a family are truly the most treasuring. It is when you get to know each other at their best. You learn how one another likes their breakfast in the morning, their favorite sleeping top, what kind of tooth paste they use, how they like their sandwiches for lunch, how they tell stories, and you become more attuned to their emotional cues, both happy and sad. When asked to think of a favorite memory of those we are so close to, in our families, it is extremely difficult to come up with one specific example. More often than not, it is the essence and aura of a person that becomes your favorite memory. The stability and predictability of knowing someone completely. A strong family helps you achieve that loving bond, and through those loving bonds we all hold so close to our hearts, we are able to translate that into our everyday life, and serve our jobs, our friends, and even strangers with the love we have received from our family.

Families are not necessarily only blood related, a family can be created from friends, much like Natalie, Katie, and their other friends in Richmond, VA, who are away from their traditional families. The built in support system from being part of a family, is there for you when things seem to be going well, and they are also there when things take a turn for the worse. One of my favorite things that Katie mentioned was how Natalie made anything hard in life, seem easier. I hope we all have someone in our lives, wether it be in the family God gave us or the family God led us to crete amongst our friends, who we can turn to when things get hard in hopes of relieving our burden.



Road Trip

Flight 93 Memorial


Listen to Show 5. Click Here. Road Trip. Guest Ryan Butler.

Guest Ryan Butler. He played basketball for the Richmond Spiders at the same time Natalie swam for the Spiders. They were both hired to be DOBO's at the University.

Guest Ryan Butler. He played basketball for the Richmond Spiders at the same time Natalie swam for the Spiders. They were both hired to be DOBO’s at the University. A DOBO means Director of Basketball Operations. They became great friends. Share your knowledge. Encourage. Have Fun.

          It really is a privilege to spend time with someone you love and care about uninterrupted in a road trip.

If you take the time to travel you can discover little places and see the beauty of our country.

Does it really matter if you get there when google maps tells you? Sometimes the best memories are unplanned and side trips off the interstate.

It’s never a good time to take a week off from work but my husband did that for 6 or 7 years when he would drive his dad to and from Florida. You do not remember the work you missed but you remember the conversations, the stops, all the laughs. And the time you will never get back with your dad.

I am so thankful for all the road trips I took with Natalie. She was so interesting, loved to stop and learn more about history.

This past road trip with my daughter Caroline we stopped to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  We were so moved. The passengers on Flight 93 are true heros.

The plane was believed to be headed to the US Capital Building. Who knows how many lives were saved. We got to the know the passengers.

We listened to their cell phone calls. Tom Burnett, Jr. age 38 rallied the fellow passengers to take action. To not let the flight go to Washington DC and wreck havoc on our country.

We may never be on a hijacked plane but you will work along someone. We will be someones friend, teammate, co-worker, and family member.

Bring energy to the work place. Share your knowledge. Encourage. Have fun. Laugh. Be responsible. Smile. Leave post it notes on your co-workers computers. They will remember that you made them feel at ease, gave them comfort and made them happy.

For all the good people who have gone before us…thank you for giving us another reminder to live our best life. Sacrifice, give, share and love.


Natalie beaming with her co-workers. They played basketball for the University of Richmond when she swam there. Pictured here with Natalie are Ryan Butler and Kevin Smith.
Personal belongings of some of the passengers of United Flight 93
The faces of the courageous passengers and flight crew of flight 93.
Caroline looking over the
Caroline looking over the impact Site of United Flight 93.



Hand Made Card



CLICK HERE to listen to Episode 4. “The Homemade Card”




     Here are some treasured hand made cards that Natalie designed and made for her grandmother. A card puts into words her genuine feelings. It’s more than a card.  It’s saying “I value you,  I love you, care about you….I took the time to let you know you are influential, admirable and how very important you are to to me.” Natalie valued the role of a mother in a family. She honored and recognized femininity, motherhood and the Blessed Mother.

     Texts, emails, voice to text…all so fast and convenient. But often misinterpreted. A homemade card costs next to nothing yet is priceless. It shows you care, what you have observed about the person, and that they are worth the time and effort to write a personal note. Don’t hold back. Let people know how you feel.

      Cards are not common of this generation. Yet they have universal appeal. We all need to be recognized and appreciated for the role we play. If times are tough, how about a post it note that says “we’ll get though this, I believe in you.”

       I appreciate you taking the time to listen to Sincerely, Trish


love 13

My mom with Natalie. The card must be from me since it is not homemade. Natalie taught me the value of a homemade card. Don’t hold back. My mom is close to all of her grandchildren and enjoys all the cards and letters they send her.


Never Pass Up The Chance

Rachie Rachie was NAtalie's he

Rachie was Natalie’s hero. Her role model. Here is a page from Natalie’s scrap book.

Bring out the best in each other!


Click here for episode 3

Normal Day 2

A copy of the quote that inspired Rachel.




When Natalie was in High School she would go to Rachies  basketball games when Siena played against Canisius. Of course Natalie made a sign!!
When Natalie was in High School she would go to Rachies basketball games when Siena played against Canisius. Of course Natalie made a sign!                                                                    

   Some thoughts from Rachel Michalek; Natalie. 24 years old. Healthy, Smart, Fit, Not reckless. How am I spending my days? How am I making an impact? Natalie lived her days loving every second of whatever she was engaged in. Her genuine joy for life. The Natalie way of living.

   Don’t wish away time. Tomorrow is not promised. Take the time to enjoy the building blocks that make up each week. The small talk conversations. Taking the time to be in each moment. Love. Kindness and a smile. Love your family. Serve one another. Leave no regrets.

    Never miss a chance to smile, to say hello. Never miss a chance to strike up conversation at the grocery store. To make a special dinner. To tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Never pass up the chance to take a walk. To not rush. To simply live in the moment.

      Thank you for listening to Episode 3 of Sincerely, Trish

Childhood Friends

nat alex

Thankfully my photography improved. Natalie and Alex dressed alike, both had a passion for swimming and simply being friends. Here they are at the Butterfly Conservatory.

      What it is about childhood friends that we cherish so much? Friends that we can be apart for 10, 20, 30 , 40 years and still feel connected. It is those friends that have the most depth. We know their mom and dad, the brothers and sisters, the pets, the major players in this friends life. We know the family dynamics and they helped us to figure out who we are. We have been inside their homes, their bedrooms, and have been asked to stay outside to play so would not “mess up” the house. We have sat at their tables and shared meals. It’s a relationship that we had the privilege of getting to know on a personal level. These are the friendships that we stay connected with forever.

Listen here.

     In may ways, we can find a deeper relationship with our Lord by using these same measures. We can go to His house; visit churches and shrines. We can get to know His mother, Our Blessed Mother more intimately and Saint Joseph who can lead us to Jesus. We can find more about Him through the disciples and the lives of the saints. And of course at Communion where we break bread and enter true presence with Him.



       Our guest is Alex Dockstader who was a childhood friend of Natalie’s. Although they went to different schools their bond was instant and solid. Natalie would celebrate when Alex was victorious and respected her competitive spirit. They helped make each other better.


Here are Alex and Natalie swimming at the NY State Swim Meet Championships. They went to different high schools but always looked for each other on deck to give encouragement and cheer for each other.

       Do you have a childhood friend who made you better? Someone who helped make you, you? Childhood is such an impressionable period in our lives, and when the relationship is beneficial, we tend to hold onto it with the entirety of our hearts. That is why I feel that it is important to come closer to your faith at a young age, as its impression is eternal. We are blessed to know people from different backgrounds, and we are blessed to have fostered friendships and been able to watch the girls prosper in life, impacting lives day in and day out.


Natalie and Alex made Speedo Invitationals in California.

Thanks for listening to the second show. If you would like to be a guest- email me at poodlewalker1@gmail.com

Thanks for listening to the second show. If you would like to be a guest- email me at poodlewalker1@gmail.com


When Pumpkin Meets Banana


Beware. Pinterest is especially tempting and captivating with fall decor and recipes. Riveting. One monster snack, caramel apple pops, and pumpkin recipe at a time.


Caroline’s close friend Sara came over to help make a batch.

     While, most of us are copying ideas, I have a daughter who has invented a pumpkin meets banana chocolate chip bread. Yeah Caroline!! No copy cat for her. Ok, a mix is involved. But she devised a Pinterest worthy bread that will knock your socks off. And the dear readers to poodlewalker get the first dibs. Like all good inventions, it kind of happened by accident. Caroline was looking for a pumpkin bread mix but only found a banana bread mix. She added a can of organic pumpkin and added chocolate chips with cinnamon and nutmeg. Whoa, is it good.



Here’s the recipe.

1.   15 oz box of Trader Joe’s Banana Bread Mix

2.    1/4 cup vegetable oil

3.    2 eggs

4.    3/4 Cup Water

5.   1 Can Organic Pumpkin from Trader Joe’s

6.   Eyeballed amount of fall spices (About two Teaspoons Cinnamon and 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg)

7.   1/2 Bag or Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips


Essentially, you mix everything in a bowl and then put it in a lightly greased pan, and it sure makes for a real easy clean up! Now, you’ll need to cook it for a little longer than the box calls for, because of the extra, dare I say…moisture, in the bread mixture. Time in the oven depends on the size of the container, so we usually stick with the tooth pick technique! Excellent in a muffin container, a mini bread pan, or as an entire loaf. This fall treat goes well with Apple Cider, Coffee, Milk, and most definitely hot chocolate.


Who would have thought, banana and pumpkin. The end of one season and the beginning of another. Maybe the lesson we can learn is one so simple, most overlook it. That two unlikely things can complement one another and make a pair no one thought of. It goes without saying that we can translate this lesson into life. Maybe it is at work, when someone brings a new idea to the table, accept that idea and build on it to make a combination no one has thought of. Maybe it is an old shirt you found in your closet and want to try out with a new skirt, try it, it expresses your personality. And maybe it is a new friend, one who is different than others, not in your typical social group. As we can learn from the case of pumpkin and banana, that doesn’t mean that a great friendship cannot be formed. Because in the end, human connection, appreciation, and love is all anyone strives for, and it sure tastes good.