Katie and Natalie loved to read and learn.
The Joy of Summer Reading. Guest Katie Sieben.
I was thinking how much I use to enjoy the summers when Natalie was in high school because we would relax and read her summer reading list together….Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Girl With the Pearl Earring, Ethan Frome, are a few very memorable books. Summer was such an active time and she was always racing off to morning and afternoon swim practice, but then there was summer reading. The time to unwind and read a good book ended up being a chance for us to relax and take turns reading to each other. Oh, how I loved scratching her arm and feeling her beautiful soft skin while she’d read to me. It was a chance for me to re-read the classics or read something for the first time as well as uninterrupted time together and something to share. When Natalie lived in Richmond she was influenced by the zest for reading that her dear teammate had. The good things you do rub off on those around you. Katie Sieben certainly influenced Natalie to not only keep up on the reading, but to taking it to the next level. When I asked Katie what books Natalie was reading she knew immediately. “She was reading two books by Candice Millard: The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic …the first is about Teddy Roosevelt’s journey along the Amazon River and the second is about James A. Garfield and his presidency/assassination. “
I use to read to Natalie and she use to read to me. It was so comforting. And I take such comfort in knowing how much she enjoyed Katie reading out loud to her. How amused Natalie was that Katie had a list of 150 books on her TO-READ list. They may have been the only 2 people who thought the Lincoln movie was too short. They were thirsty for more information and used to joke that they would have facts for days on any topic!
Katie introduced us, and Natalie, to an organization called Room to Read, and its website can be found @ roomtoread.org an organization that helps change the young children of the world through education, and has already helped over 10 million! Simple donations through monetary funds, or literature donations are always helpful. Katie is aware of a program where you can donate a certain amount of money, and have a school built for children. It’s just one way to contribute to this world.
My hope for you is that you all find a book that helps you escape, increase your vocabulary, teach you new facts and make you never want the book to end. And I hope you find a buddy who helps you engage in life, reading, and interests to develop an impactful friendship, all through reading.
Remember the words of Katie…..you can never know enough!
Natalie was a huge fan of any historical facts and especially enjoyed Titanic information. Here Michael plays along with the movie reinactment.
How wonderful to find a friend who enjoys reading out loud to you.
Recently I was visited by one of my oldest and dearest friends growing up. You know the type, you can go years without speaking and pick things up in one sentence. I guess there is a reason for that. These are the precious few friendships we have that have deep seeded roots. We go back. We know our history and our families. We know where they came from…
I find these treasured friendships worth more and more to me. I know these friends stand by me and feel the deepness of our sadness over our unspeakable tragedy of losing Natalie so suddenly and unexpectedly.
I love that my children including Natalie learned to swim and enjoy summers at the same club that we did as children. Natalie was always filled with joy.
Yes, Say Yes, Yes You Can…Guest Alison Wylegala
Alison Wylegala is the name of the friend I am referring to; but to me she will always be Bink. I love nicknames and will take full credit for giving her that one when we were kids. Not only did she come from NYC to be with our family for the funeral she was also changed. The homily at Natalie’s funeral given by Father Joe Rogliano spoke of saying YES to God’s plan for us. Fr. Joe said that Natalie had said Yes to God in the way she lived her life. It stirred inside Allison’s heart. She returned to NYC and said Yes to teaching.
How ofter do teachers ponder if they are making a difference when you ask the students to be quiet for the tenth time while speaking? How often as parents do we wonder of we are instilling the proper lessons to our own children to guide them through life? The days are long. The years are short. And even as friends, do we think we matter in the lives of our friends by showing up and taking the time for a phone call or visit.
Yes, you make a difference. And it is profound. And it will stay with those touched forever. I don’t think that grandparents realize how much their influence is needed in today’s world. A homemade dinner, the lack of electronic gadgets, a slower pace, a well kept home, all add to a much needed relaxed calmness in our lives.
Today, Alison tells us about the joy and frustrations to teaching. Today, I simply want to remind you to say Yes to God’s will for us and to remind you what an incredible difference you make by being and giving to this world.
Back when we were 15 and 16 years old and were known only as our nicknames…Poncho and Bink
Here we are today ….Poncho and Bink in our 50’s….Thank you Bink for returning to the classroom and saying YES
Jesus left nothing behind but love and examples of how to lives our lives. Jesus never left behind a building or a sculpture or anything in His name. He left behind only the message of love and forgiveness. He was our savior and had a close circle of disciples who He loved and they loved Him. His disciples begged Him not to go but Jesus reassured them He taught them everything they need to know.
Who has gone before you that you can learn from because you admired the way they lived? I’m certain we all have someone who left a lasting impression on us. I am sure you have a parent or grandparent, sibling, friend or child or someone who has touched you in how they chose to live their life. I’m sure at times you think that you are not strong enough to go on without them. Yet, if you can incorporate lessons you learned from their lives, in many ways they continue to live inside of you. There will always be moments that make you pause not to take it for granted because someone you miss is not here with you.
Living Like Natalie Showed Me. Eleanor Clay. Thanks for listening.
Eleanor and Natalie enjoying a summer day at the Chautauqua Institute
Today I introduce you to Eleanor. Natalie and Eleanor were best of friends growing up. Eleanor has moved out to the LA area of California and works at the exciting FOX studios. She is a certified public accountant and was an outstanding competitive swimmer in high school (Nardin Academy) and college (American University). Natalie and Eleanor also swam together on their club team, the Tonawanda Titans, and bonded over practice, car pools, away swim meets, pool decks, and post practice showers and laughter in the locker room. But, that’s just the surface. It’s been almost two years since we have seen each other, so when she recently walked into our house where she has spent so many days and nights with Natalie, without any warning the tears just flowed.
Julie, Eleanor and Natalie. The 2 childhood friends that Natalie always made time to see when home from college.
The last picture taken of Natalie and Eleanor taken on Saturday, April 19, 2014. She is pictured here with Michael at their engagement party. Eleanor said she took a train, a plane and an automobile to get here..but nothing would stop her from being here for Natalie and Michael.
Eleanor keeps her love of Natalie alive by incorporating 3 of her memorable traits to show others.
1. Natalie’s competitive spirit that included support and nurturing. She saw how Natalie wanted everyone to reach their full potential and that hard work turned into joy when you succeeded.
2. Natalie’s love of learning. She took flawless notes, did not care that other’s thought it was not cool to be so eager to learn and to be front and center in a tour. Natalie took in everything the world had to offer.
3. Natalie’s faith was her anchor for giving to other’s. Natalie had so many inspiring ways that she serviced others and always was thinking “how can I make someone’s day better?”
We are so proud of Eleanor in her career and life choices. It’s living out the messages that a she has learned from Natalie that she keeps her alive in all of us. We are not too busy for a post-it note or a word of encouragement. Thank you for striving to “do good things” and be our best version. As long as one baby is born today, we witness another miracle here on earth.
We like all like flowers in our garden. Today I am going to introduce you to the green thumb behind the beautiful window boxes and gardens on our street. Beth McKee is here to offer insight into the world of flowers that we may not know. Beth truly finds joy in making her yard so beautiful. A funny thing about landscaping, once one neighbor starts improving their yard, it becomes contagious and next thing you know the whole neighborhood is looking great!
Add Beauty To This World By Planting Flowers. Guest Beth McKee Episode 43
Beth shares with us some tips about her favorite perennials, annuals, and gardening tips.
She wants us all to know that perennial flowers are easy to grow. How can you beat flowers that come back year after year. Here are 3 recommended perennials that are low maintenance and beautiful at the same time.
2. Black eyed Susans
The Black Eyed Susans is a low maintenance perennial flower.
Here are Beth’s 3 favorite perennials at this moment because after all the favorites change all the time…
1. Clematis-beautiful climbers.
2. Primrose-first to bloom, all colors; also pink evening primrose-spread/multiply and bloom forever.
3. Astilbe -come in light pink, dark pink and white
From Beth’s garden, healthy and happy astilbe.
Annuals are bright and colorful and are perfect for our potted plants.
3 favorite annuals for Beth are:
Petunias look great in pots and are such a colorful and beautiful annual flower.
1. Add new fresh soil and peat moss every couple years at least and Lay 1-2 inches of mulch black or brown Mulch in early summer after the helicopter seeds drop and before the plants get too big to get in and do that. Keeps moisture in and weeds out I don’t like the red mulch- I don’t think the red mulch highlights the colors of the flowers, as well.
2. Plants perennials, not annuals. Less expensive in the long run; easier
3. You can’t just walk away after you plant- must weed on a regular basis are the next thing you know your garden is completely out of control. Mulch helps suppress the weeds but it’s not a foolproof barrier.
Beth enjoys the ease and beauty of mostly perennials at her home.
Flowers add to the beauty of this world. Thank you to our friend Beth McKee for helping to make this world more beautiful and for being such a wonderful neighbor and friend.
Here she is…my gardening expert Beth McKee trying to figure out what is growing in my pot!!
Geraniums make a great impact when clustered together. Here are the pots on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo that I mention in the podcast that offer such beauty it stops traffic.
Eye catching garden on the corner of Potomac and Chapin in Buffalo.
Added bonus..a glimpse of the Hershey rose garden.
You cannot help but feel such gratitude for the contributions that Milton Hershey made to our world when you visit Hershey, PA.
Every morning when we begin a new day, no matter how well we have our day scheduled, no matter how lock tight our plans are, we really have no idea what the day will bring us. The best way to face each day is to “put on the armor of God” and to be open to whatever we face as we go about our day.
Today, Robert Agbo, a seminarian for the Buffalo Diocese from Nigeria, speaks to us about keeping out heart open.
Episode 43. Be Open. Guest Robert Agbo
Robert Agbo with Caoline and Katie celebrating a birthday.
In addition to what Robert has inspired us with, I reflected on the importance of being open and have come up with three reasons to always stay open:
Being judgmental comes from a place of fear. with an open heart you keep your mind open to new experiences, new ideas, new inspiration. With that comes change, and most people do not like change of some sort. Fear of change can grow inside us and manifest as judgement toward other’s actions, when, in the truest form of reality, it feels so good to be open and try a new experience. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you..don’t, but you will never learn what makes you heart happy unless you try. And you might come out with a funny sitcom-like story if it’s not for you!!
Being open means loving yourself. By being open, we are not just being open to new experiences, we are being open to teaching others. By loving ourselves, we can share ourselves, teach others, and learn from others. How many of us have moments in our life where maybe they did not change the course of our life, but we always think back to a statement or comment or bible verse that becomes engrained in us? And that person who said it, probably has no idea the impact they have left on you. You never know who you will inspire today; Love yourself, love who you are, love your teachings, and change the world.
Being open helps you grow. Without openness, we are denying a wonderful gift that God has given us, the ability to grow outside of our body. The mind we have been given, gives us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and expand our ideas. Without this gift, we never would use the term “word of mouth” or Pinterest would never have taken off so well, just futile examples of how little things in our everyday life can show that we are open to new ideas.
Robert enjoying a visit over to our home with Evan Jr.
Stay open. Sometime life begins outside of our plans. Open to God’s will for us. Open to others. Thank you for reading and listening.