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Middle School Hero

How did we ever get through middle school? The exclusions, the awkwardness of growing up, and the strong desire to fit in with our peers. How did we as parents ever hold our tounge and not tell off the kids and parents of the kids who hurt our kids? Please refrain! Nothing comes across worse than an angry parent getting involved. Let the kids work it out and you’ll be glad you did. They will be friends again and you can never take back angry words. Friendships are more important than losing your cool.

In the middle school years, the kids are still kids but need to act cool because they are growing up. All they want to do is fit in and being left out of a party or social gathering is very hurtful especially when it’s splashed all over social media. Kids want to dress cool and certainly don’t want public praise. That’s mortifying. Remember, kids this age just want to fit in and not called out on stage. Whoops, we had to make an exception and call out a 7th grader onto the stage.

Colleen in the middle of our family. Parents of Colleen join us to the right. Congratulations!

Our family is so honored and humbled to have an award named after our daughter Natalie that is given to a 7th grader in the Buffalo area Diocese who demonstrates dedication to bring happiness to people through acts of kindness. The first award winner is Colleen Hennessy of Immaculate Conception School of Allegany County.

Most Reverend Richard J Malone, Bishop of Buffalo joins Colleen Hennessy for a photo.

Listen to Colleen.

Colleen could not be more adorable with a big smile and a beautiful essay written by her principal, Mrs. Nora Burdick, that would make her blush. When you meet a gem like this girl, you just want to hold her tight and thank her for making a difference. There were 2 things that jumped out at me that made me think of what she has in common with Natalie. Colleen is described as wise beyond her years and always there for the parish to altar serve. Natalie would also see things that others normally wouldn’t and was always available to altar serve at St. Rose of Lima parish the funerals that would take place during school hours. She enjoyed serving and hearing about the life of the deceased and I look back and think how this gave her wisdom in how fleeting life is and to not waste a moment doing good.  I wonder if Colleen has any idea, or if anyone of us has any idea, how much influence we have on others by all our little actions. Folks, it doesn’t take much…just a simple smile, a little compliment, or asking if you want to join in on a project. Congratulations Colleen. Keep it up. Kindness can change the world.

Sincerely,

Trish

 

 

Advice to a Younger Person

       I was recently at a luncheon with ladies who were all their in 50’s all at different career levels. One thing is for sure, all the ladies were supportive and happy just to take time out to enjoy lunch, and laugh with friends. This is the good stuff in life. Unemployment, divorce, taking care of elderly parents and loss of close family members are a few of the hits that have come along in life. Establishing and cultivating friendships are really important and it was so fascinating to hear how some of the ladies have been friends since diapers and others since their babies have been in diapers. Luncheons are so lovely, I may have to start a lunch club. Please listen to the podcast today to hear all of the ladies at the luncheon their advice to a younger person.

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I would like to offer this advice…

  1. Overlook more and focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture is to lead a good life and to get to heaven. Don’t waste time arguing about insufficient stuff with a sufficant person. We now say this a lot…would you rather be right or happy? I’d rather laugh and smile and make a joke out of it.

  2. Jealousy is a waste of time. This world is big enough for all of us to fulfill our dreams, have all the money we can make and have all of our children become success stories.

  3. Take more movies of your kids and record their voices. You will be surprised how their voice changes. Keep your kids young and innocent for as long as possible.

  4. Make nutritional dinners and stop thinking that Oreo’s, gummy bears and Cheetos are good for your kids.

  5. Entertain more. Your house will never be perfect.

  6. Faith is crucial. Teach your kids to pray and pray with them before meals and bed. And stick to your beliefs out there!

  7. Love is everything. Say “I love you” more often. Say it over and over. Your greatest legacy is the love you gave this world.

Sincerely,

Trish

Drop the Scorecard

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”.

 

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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.

 

Sincerely,

Trish

 

Happy New Year 2017

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.

 

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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.

Eat less

Move more

Play sports

Buy less

Learn more

Complain less

Laugh more

Travel more

Plan a new activity a month

Organize

Worry less

Compare less

and most of all

Trust more

One step at a time, one day at a time.

Sincerely, Trish

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Hug more, Love more, encourage more…all lessons learned from the way Natalie lived.

 

 

Green Goodness

      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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sincerely, Trish

Against the Grain

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

Trish

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Wish List

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.

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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.

Thank you for reading. Make that list!!

Sincerely, Trish

3 Observations for the Holidays

     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:

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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!”

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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.

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Fuss for your family and friends. It’s Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Table Notes

“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.

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     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.

Sincerely, Trish

Split this Dish

    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.

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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.

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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!

 

Sincerely, Trish