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The Cincinnati Experience

        Somehow I was granted the privilege of being a chaperone for 10 Nardin High School young ladies along with Stephanie Malinowski and Rosalie Sperrazza.  In two mini vans we headed to Cincinnati, Ohio to give a week of service to others.

 

           I cannot tell you the amount of people who said to me, why Cincinnati? We have so many opportunities to help people right here in Buffalo. True enough. But staying in your own city fills you with distractions, and you stay in the safe zone, and the unknown tends to bond with the group together.

 

           The best reason to go on a service retreat is that you see the world differently and you see each other differently too. You really grow in admiration of each other. New friends. New perspectives. And you become so grateful for what you have waiting for you back home. A family, a home, a comfortable bed, a dog, a school you are proud to attend, and the list goes on and on.

 

Please watch the movie to better understand.

 

        Our world was expanded in the city of Cincinnati. Driving over the Ohio River into Kentucky a few times, all the hills, all the stairs, the trains, and the historic row houses. We over came fear and we had a boost in our confidence that we can return home and paint a deck for someone too. We discovered the positive difference you can make in someones life. You witness immediate results and see the smiles on their faces. The young ladies saw the good in their own city of Buffalo too. Little things that they took for granted like our beautiful view of Lake Erie, walking along Canalside and the cooler temperatures. No matter where you go, you always stay loyal to your hometown and getting out of town just reinforces that.

 

 

 

 

          We lived in simple housing, cell phones were restricted, mirrors were hard to find in the house, and meals were prepared together.Each day began and ended in the chapel for reflection and prayer. What a peaceful way to live.

 

 

         We all have opportunities to mentor, to share our talents, to influence for the good , to life people up, to love and encourage each other, to believe and help others. I hope that Ava, Amelia, Adrianna, Caroline, Isabella, Leah, McKenzie, Melanie, Shannon, and Tori all realize how much I care about them and see their goodness and light shine so bright.

 

           Thank you to the City of Cincinnati who opened our eyes to the amount of non profit agencies that we don’t have to help people along when they need it most. The generosity of it’s residents is so impressive.

 

 

          See the world differently. Leave our distractions behind and go on a service trip. You will return home in a new light.

 

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://franforthepoor.org/

The Pug Story

          It doesn’t matter if you adopt a rescue dog, a mutt, or a pedigree pup from a top breeder.  Dogs benefit mankind immeasurably.

 

I was so excited to follow along.  You know I am a dog lover and it also involves my sister and Instagram!  Home run!  I love taking pictures, I love my sisters, and I love dogs.

Sit back relax and enjoy “The Pug Movie” The story of Hank.

 

My sister Anne who lives in California in the LA area called me a month ago to say one of her best friends is flying to Buffalo (Tonawanda to be exact) to pick up the pug puppy she had reserved. They are both fabulous friends and complete and utter dog lovers. It’s fun to hang around these two ladies. They share many stories of their dogs together and Noreen recently went with Anne to pick up her new pair of puppies at a local animal shelter where she scored 2 adorable litter mate puppies. Follow Beatrix and Butters on Instagram at beatrixandbutters. So, of course Anne had to be with Noreen as she met her new puppy.

 

 

 

 

Noreen fell in love with the Pug breed after one mysteriously appeared at her house one day, and that was 18 years ago. Every since then, this family of 5 has been hooked on pugs. They found the breeder by following different Instagram accounts featuring pugs. They really liked the looks of the pug in one account and contacted the owner who gave them the name of the breeder named Kelly in Tonawanda, NY.

 

I’m so happy that I went along on the exciting journey of Noreen meeting her new puppy “Hank.”

These little stories help you see the good in this world. Lessons from dogs are countless but one I will leave you with today is the ability to love and invite others in your life. A dog simply wants you to love him/her but a dog also wants to be loved. Savor those lessons. Love and be loved. Dogs don’t live a long life yet we keep going back and buying a new puppy. They are unforgettable and steal our hearts.

Stay tuned to find out Hank’s Instagram account. It’s coming.

 

Enjoy the true story,

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

http://marketplace.akc.org/puppies/pug

Scratch the Surface

We stayed at the beautiful Dearborn Inn that Henry Ford built. I’d drive 5 hours to swim in the outdoor pool again.

 

This past weekend, we ventured to the Detroit, Michigan. Detroit sure has a lot of nicknames…The Motor City, Motown, Hockeytown, The Comeback City, and the list goes on.  Don’t you find that people and places with a lot of nicknames tend to be colorful and likable and are distinguishable in certain ways? I almost didn’t mention to some people that we were invited to Detroit because the reputation is not of a vacation destination. Crime, poverty, unemployment, just a bleak place is an unfair reputation that is cast upon Detroit. We need to be reminded that reputations can be unfair.

 

Scratch the Surface. Visiting Detroit. Wanting More. from Poodlewalker on Vimeo.

What kept popping into my mind was the simple thought…I have just scratched the surface of this city. We think of beaches for vacations, but why not great American cities with roots and history? We only scratched the surface. The Henry Ford museum went far beyond my expectations. It was simply a celebration of America. Seeing all the old Ford plants and the turnstiles you could close your eyes and see and feel the many thousands of former plant workers piling into work.

There was so much more we wanted to learn and discover about Detroit. Again, I kept thinking how much more meaningful and impactful are life is when we deep deeper and not just scratch the surface.

Nothing matters more than our relationship with Our Creator. If you want more substance, spend more time in prayer, refection, reading, and of course in church. No matter where you go, He is there with us waiting and wanting us to enter into a deeper relationship with Him. Thank you Abe and Clare for inviting us to Detroit. It’s an amazing place and you guys are a big reason. It’s so apparent that together you are making people around you better by your example.

 

You know I like to capture life now with little movies. I hope you’ll give it a viewing.

 

Sincerely, Trish 

The Family

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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:

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

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Natalie and Katie on another adventure.

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

Just A Summer Job?

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Why did Natalie care so much about this little summer job? I now know why…Natalie’s life is her message to the world. Make every second, every opportunity count.

     There is No Such Thing As Just A Summer Job

     Of course there is no such thing as just a summer job. Every second of every day is a chance to influence and make the world better. If anyone taught me that, it was Natalie.

     For 3 summers, from 2008 to 2010, Natalie taught tennis in Buffalo for children aged 6 to 17 years old.  I remember Natalie putting so much into this little job and coming up with a “word of the day” along with games and obstacles courses to keep the various ages of kids and various levels challenged. She even played duck, duck goose and came up with countless tennis drills. She would make a special themed tennis cake to share with the kids. She laughed. She loved. She inspired. She kept careful attendance and had the kids help her decorate her special instructor notebook.  She waited with every child till they were picked up and never complained to the parents for being late. I remember thinking…why does Natalie care so much and put so much into this little summer job?  I’m embarrassed to say that I told her she was doing too much for this position.

     Well, I know why now. It has all been brought to light. Natalie’s life was her message to the world. Decisions that she made, to do more and care more for others, made a difference and we all have that capacity if we want to. It’s a choice we make. A lasting effect in other’s lives that can be big or small.

     People noticed. Lives touched. And now there is an award to a Buffalo youth in Natalie’s honor.

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Natalie’s message..Be happy! Smile and laugh! But push yourself to be more and live to know and serve God and others.

The AWARD CEREMONY

      It’s an informal setting at Delaware Park. Picnic tables, pizza, specially designed t-shirts, and cookies with a special Natalie message to “say something sweet” to others. It’s beautifully casual under the shade of trees. It’s not showy. It’s sweet and innocent just like Natalie. It’s filled with a good spirit just like Natalie. It’s everything that matters. I cannot begin to tell you how touched we were on August 15, 2014 when Mayor Brown declared it Natalie Lewis Day in Buffalo. The mere fact that it fell on the feast of the Assumption of Mary was a God nod that did not go unnoticed in our family. The second Friday in August is now the day set aside for the Natalie Lewis Character Award to go to a fun loving Buffalo youth.

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Natalie made tennis theme cakes to share with the kids at the end of each tennis session. Hard work and accomplishing something always called for a celebration in Natalie’s world.

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Summer photo of the PAL tennis instructors in Buffalo in 2010. Earl is still the man in charge of the tennis program.

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If you have the ability to make someone happy (and we all do)- Do It!

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Natalie was fun and made tennis theme cakes to share with the kids. She made people feel good with her smile and love of the sport. Hey, if you are alive..make someone’s day!

 I shared with the kids this year the 3 lessons of Natalie’s life I would like them to remember.

1. BE HAPPY

If you have the ability to make someone happy- Do it!

Hug them, write them notes, smile, laugh out loud, tell jokes, personalize gifts. Make people feel good if they accomplish something even if it’s little.

 

2. PUSH YOURSELF

Don’t expect results without hard work. I don’t know anyone who worked as hard as Natalie did in the pool, in the classroom, or in any employed position. Natalie woke up early. She had discipline and structure and a purpose to each day.

 

3. LOVE YOUR FAITH

Natalie was faith filled and knew God created her to make the world a better place. No one has your talents, your hair, your nose, your voice, your eyes, your mind, your story, your life. God gave it all to you for a reason and that is to use your gifts to make a positive influence on the world.

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August 15, 2014 – Mayor Brown declares it Natalie Lewis Day for the positive impact she had in the PAL tennis program and the youth in Buffalo. We loved that it shared the same day as the Assumption of Mary. Last year was so soon after the Hot Air Balloon tragedy that the ceremony was more somber until the award winner was announced. Lenore added spark!

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The first award winner! Lenore Brown. The award took her by surprise and she displayed innocent sweetness.

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The informal park setting for the PAL youth award is filled with the spirit of Natalie.

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A lot of joy when the 2015 award winner was announced. Taryn embraced it! Thank you to Modie Cox from the PAL office.

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Here she is..full of life and love..the 2nd annual Natalie Lewis youth award winner with all the current PAL instructors. Congrats Taryn.

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There is no doubt that the award winners are hand picked from heaven above! Taryn Koeppen was so surprised and happy…the first thing she said was..”I’m a swimmer too!! And I know all about Natalie from Fr. Joe!”

 

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Caroline is photographed with Josh. Josh was a PAL participant when Natalie was an instructor. Josh remembers Natalie’s smile, laugh and always telling him how tall and strong he is getting each summer!  He wanted to influence kids just like Natalie did for him. Now he is a PAL instructor and doing just that!

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Pictured here with the Chief of Detectives for the City of Buffalo, we would like to thank Dennis Richards.

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This picture! Only after someone casually took this picture of the 4 of us did we notice a picture of Natalie on the tree behind us. What a sign! Natalie is right there with us.  A sure sign that Natalie is interceding for us all and cheering us on to be the best we can be. God nod for sure.

 

 

 

#todayonmywalk

     Let’s face it, if I wasn’t a dog owner I certainly would not take a daily walk or two. I would attempt. But it would not be daily occurrence especially in the rain, snow and sleet. Even on beautiful sunny days, something always comes up. You know, you always have to go somewhere.

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My inspiration for the name of my blog and my appreciation to slow down and sniff on daily walks. Meet Rory and Lucy Marie. My favorite walking or strolling companions. We stop and smell the roses and take pictures. #todayonmywalk

 

     But, inspired by my dogs, this summer I decided to take a picture with my cell phone camera and post it on Instragram with the hash-tag #todayonmywalk.  It’s a fresh look and the same walk I have been walking for years.  It’s the ability to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us daily. The simple joys. Our two dogs enjoy stopping and sniffing and using all their senses on walks. As soon as I pick up the leashes near the front door of the house, the “ladies” start circling around in utter joy over a chance to walk the neighborhood. When we go for a walk, they act like they won a million dollars. But, we do something worth far more than that…we walk, breath, and appreciate the beauty we see everyday. This is Buffalo in the summer. I am going to keep this up for all the seasons.

 I do not take for granted the incredible happiness just having the ability to go for a walk with my favorite walking companions – Rory and Lucy Marie give me.

Now let’s look at some of the pictures that made it on #todayonmywalk

And follow me on Instagram at poodlewalker1. Thank you for reading.

 

 

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

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This bucket surrounded by little rocks really caught my eye. The whimsey flowers add to the “old fashioned” homey feel. #todayonmywalk

 

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I spotted this on the Buffalo Garden walk. I truly think it’s the prettiest window box I have ever seen. #todayonmywalk

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This house caught my eye because the house number is written out in cursive writing. Love it. #todayonmywalk

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Here you go, this is what you do with the unattractive tree stump on your lawn. Fill it with flowers. It stopped me in my tracks. #todayonmywalk

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Curb appeal. The double wreaths. The matching pots. The dog statue. The high ornate windows. Stop and stare. #todayonmywalk.

 

 

My Top 8 Buffalo Summer Traditions

Hello and welcome to summer. Buffalo style. I often say, there is too much to do around here. Too many gorgeous places to visit. We really are spoiled in the summer months in Buffalo. We don’t have much time, we have too many options, but there are certain MUST-DO’s that we always find time for.  We like to stay close to home in the summer and enjoy our own back yard. You can travel to far off places but really everything you ever wanted is right here. There is something so sweet about summer. Wearing sandals, eating corn on the cob, moving at a slower pace and reading under a tree. It’s swimming outside. It’s doing handstands in the pool. It’s going off diving boards. It’s swinging on a swing. Summer is really all about kids and bringing out the kid in you. It’s about connecting as a family and nurturing and being playful. It’s where I hold cherished memories of my own childhood and think of my wonderful years being a young mom. We are off the clock in a way. No homework projects due. New friends develop and new skills are learned. Now mind you, it’s not all perfect, there’s pesky mosquitos, humidity and quite frankly, I can do without fireworks. But, as a family, it would not be summer without these 8 traditions. The Canadian beaches, visiting Chautauqua Institute, Swimming outside and outdoor swim meets,  grilling and eating outside, the annual family picnic at Chestnut Ridge Park, the inspiration of the Garden walk, Saturday mornings and walks to the Famers Market and one that will never be the same is taking an annual picture of our children. Again, I know we have a lot of options and I did not even include Niagara Falls or baseball. But hey, this is my list. And these 8 traditions are true blue with our family.

1. Go Over the Peace Bridge to Canada

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It is always a thrill to enter Canada and take advantage of our friendly neighbors and our unique geographic location. In 15 minutes we are on the bridge from our house. So close yet it feels like a world away.

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The first picture in my blog. Poodlewalker!! Inspiration from our dogs running free on the beach of Windmill Point, Canada. Fresh water from Lake Erie and the perfect place for beautiful walks and swims.

2. Spend a day or a week at the Chautauqua Institute. 

 

Here we are sitting on the rocking chairs of the Anthethian hotel.

Here we are sitting on the rocking chairs of the Athenaeum hotel. I thank God for these happy memories. Traditions and family vacations fill our hearts with memories and closeness. I know only too well you don’t get that time back. You are just so so glad you did.

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Inside the gate of the Chautauqua Institute. I am so thankful for these vacations that my parents started and that we continued with our children. Chautauqua is only a one and a half hour drive from Buffalo and has old fashioned charm and is located on a lake in a community that offers lectures and evening performances.

 

3. Swim Outside – just to relax or to watch a swim meet outside

Oh the years of outside swim competition warm your hearts and memories for decades. the magic of summer.

Oh the years of outside swim competition warm your hearts and memories for decades. It’s the magic of summer. Swimming outside and breathing fresh air is a delight. No hot natatoriums. Nothing but fresh water and the joy of watching your children and others compete.

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The Titans swim team enjoyed the short outdoor swim practice season. The cold water entering the pool was welcomed on a hot day. After practice the treat of a ride down the slide gave Natalie such joy.

 

4. Grill and Eat Outside

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Entertaining is much easier and more colorful in the summer. Natalie fussed and showed us how to prepare meals with happiness and joy. “It doesn’t take much to step it up a notch” she would explain.

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The fresh fruits and vegetables are bursting with flavors.

 

 

5. Reconnect at the Annual Family Picnic

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Chestnut Ridge Park. Such a rustic and homey feel to the park. There is such comfort to returning to the same shelter year after year. Follow the paper plates and connect with your family. Here is my dad in the navy shirt and our Uncle Dan in white who paved such noble paths for the family. Uncle Hank, the baby, is missing in the photo.

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How fortunate we are to have the focal point of our family picnic be a celebration of mass. Here is Father Jack Mattimore, SJ with his nephew Michael serving as altar server.

 

6. Enjoy the flowers and Garden Walk

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The Buffalo Garden Walk is inspiring and who doesn’t enjoy getting ideas and seeing peoples back yards.

 

7. Saturday Farmers Market

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The fresh vegetables and fruits are delicious but the mini bouquet of flowers are a colorful treat.

 

8. Photograph and take the annual family picture of the kids

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Here is a playful pose of the 3 children. Natalie will always be so loved and adored and lives in all of us. We are all changed and are better because of Natalie. This was the last photo shoot of all the children. I always took the Christmas card picture in August and told the kids how beautiful their hair and skin looked in the summer. Gathering our children together for a yearly photograph is beyond cherished to us now. We could not do this last summer. We know we have to forge ahead but this is the toughest of all.

One Year

Natalie lead the way. A natural leader by the way she lived. Here she is opening the gates for us at the Virginia House. Natalie was a history buff and loved teaching us all about the Capital of Virginia - Richmond. Natalie loved nature and was a natural beauty.

Natalie lead the way. A natural leader by the way she lived. Here she is opening the gates for us at the Virginia House. Natalie was a history buff and loved teaching us all about the Capital of Virginia – Richmond. Natalie loved nature and was a natural beauty.

 

It still doesn’t seem possible. It seems unreal. There is no possible way this could have happened. I still don’t want to believe it. Natalie. Our beloved Natalie. We just celebrated your wedding engagement. Yet, everything changed with one phone call. One unbelievable phone call. Natalie was in trouble. The hot air balloon she was riding in had hit a power line. We went numb. And we prayed. Not Natalie. She was never in trouble. She followed every rule. Natalie was a sure bet for a long and beautiful life.

Somehow the impossible came true. Natalie, the golden one, is gone from this earth. We were stunned. We fell to our knees and thought we could not get up.

Inside my narrow vision, I search for answers.  I don’t pretend to understand but I try. A dear friend sent me the book “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?”  I did not read the book. I know. I lived it. It’s to develop deeper compassion, deeper understanding, to become more sensitive, more caring and more tolerant. You flaunt less and live with the realization that everything in this life is temporary. News stories and death of children hit you hard and you understand their pain. You realize every second of every minute counts. That we are on earth for something greater than ourselves. We are all filled with potential to make this world better and we have an obligation to do so. 

Natalie left such an impact. It’s no wonder. We are all in great need of quality people who have the ability to lift and encourage others. Natalie was so incredibly valuable to so many. And she valued herself and had the  confidence to encourage others by giving you that “you have it in you” feeling to accomplish anything you wanted to do. Suddenly you started to believe that you could win the Atlantic 10 Championships in the 100 freestyle, that you could lead the team in re-bounds in the basketball championships, that you could land that job you were dreaming of, that you could host and prepare a gourmet dinner or that you will find someone special in your life.

We can’t begin to express to you how much we miss Natalie. She was such a giver. Natalie gave and gave and gave. Her gifts were endless and she shared them with all. I used to to ask her all the time “how are you so good?” I still can’t believe how much she accomplished in 24 years. Natalie was so selfless, so disciplined, so joyful, unspoiled and loving.

I read this bible passage In Hebrews 1:3 Continue to love each other like brothers,and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

That’s when I pause and realize that Natalie was truly an angel. Natalie showed us how to live. We truly were indeed touched by an angel.

We search for answers and always will. There is no doubt that our Catholic faith has sustained us. Gathering together for the rosary each night brings us such a comfort. Instead of counseling we attend daily mass. We feel closer to Natalie there. Heaven and earth come together and our faith supports, nourishes and gets you through the day. I imagine the joys in heaven. I believe nothing can separate us from Natalie. Mostly I believe in God’s love for all of us. I believe in Gods promises of everlasting life. Natalie said yes to Gods’ will. It’s a scary thought and I know most of us want to be in control. We plan. We try to control everything. But if you say YES to God’s will you will be eternally happy in paradise.

Natalie always so joyful and happy. She realized all this life had to offer and that you need give to get. You need to love and be loved. I took pictures of her constantly because her smile and was so contagious.

Natalie always so joyful and happy. She realized all this life had to offer and that you need to give to get. You need to love and be loved. I took pictures of her constantly because her smile and was so contagious.

Our family gains strength from each other. Natalie meant so much to us and we all struggle without her. We never would have chosen this life but trust in Gods plan. Our marriage and family unit is sacred. I love my husband more than I ever realized. We are not meant to go through life alone and this sadness has made that crystal clear. Do you know how a team feels when the star quarterback is sidelined with an injury? We feel like our QB is out and we have to all step up and keep going onto victory in her honor. We feel like we have a lot more good left to do on this earth. We all make a difference. We all have no idea how we touch people each day. Natalie taught us we all have the power and the ability to lift others up and the ripple effect goes on and on.

This Mother’s Day I will imagine Natalie with the Blessed mother in heaven. I will pray for all the mother’s out there who have lost their children before their time. I will pray for our dear friend Ginny Doyle and her family. I will hold all of our friends close in our prayers for showing us so much kindness.  I am inspired to be a better person by the outpouring of cards and gifts sent to us. Our family will hold each other tight and I will pull out one of the homemade cards from the box I have over flowing with cards that Natalie has written to me. And I will read it over and over and remember what an honor it is to be Natalie’s mom. And what an amazing honor it will be to have Evan Jr and Caroline along side of me.

Oh Natalie. Your beautiful homemade cards are truly breathtaking. Show kindness. Show appreciation. Show love. Thank you for showing us the way.

Oh Natalie. Your beautiful homemade cards are truly breathtaking. Show kindness. Show appreciation. Show love. Thank you dear sweet Natalie for showing us the way.

 

Lead by example. Live to inspire. Love and be loved. Love conquers all.

Chill Buffalo

Chill Buffalo owner Anton Wopperer and manager Carolyn Ehmann.

Chill Buffalo owner Anton Wopperer and manager Carolyn Ehmann.

Chances are you would not have selected this winter to open a frozen yogurt shop. But on January 24, 2014 – Chill Buffalo opened at 2860 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. Owners Anton and Lisa Wopperer had the gumption to research all the ins and outs of the frozen yogurt business and decided they had the courage and the spirit to open their own shop. They could have gone with the tried and true franchises but realized they could localize the whole operation. Whoa, that’s a lot of work. Selecting the logo, colors, the furniture, lighting, tiles, flavors, toppings, menu; that’s a lot of decisions. Perry’s is the local distributor of the yogurt. Anton also owns a commercial roofing business so don’t expect him to have any free time this summer. He and his wife are also parents to 3 lively kids. It’s a great place to go after a sports game. Tonight I enjoyed a toasted coconut and carmel sea salt twist combo with chocolate sauce and a variety of nuts. The blue polka dot cups filled with the good stuff were averaging about 3 to 4 dollars each. Chill man. I was chilling and digging. I know we are have been chilling a lot this winter but this chilling was in a comfortable white chair and I was digging into all the tasty flavors.

Manager Carolyn Ehmann helps a fellow Allegheny College graduate how the yogurt flows.

Manager Carolyn Ehmann helps a fellow Allegheny College graduate how the yogurt flows. Carolyn is friendly and professional and so is her customer. Go Gators.

Another look at the blue tile. A unique look found at Chill Buffalo.

Another look at the blue tile. A unique look found at Chill Buffalo. Not a franchise. A look the owners created.

 

 

Carriage Trade Dog Biscuits

A funny thing happened on my way home from work one day. I stopped into Carriage Trade Bakery at 1654 Elmwood Avenue and picked myself up a delicious cut out cookie. I noticed the dog biscuits and picked up a couple of those too. When I got home, just a couple minutes later, we were all happy and waging our tails. Before you knew it, I was stopping in more and more to pick up just one little goodie (almond biscotti, sticky bun, cinnamon roll, and still my favorite – the cut out cookie and dog biscuits). What a place! So charming. So delicious. I got to know the little family. The owners are Andy and Shandra and their daughter Devan. Now who the heck cannot resist their daughter who eats the dog biscuits for an after school snack? Why not? The biscuits are made from whole wheat flour, milk powder, wheat germ, and a touch of brown sugar. They sell for 50 cents each. Shandra said that it’s natural to want to buy your best friend a treat when you buy something for yourself. So many customers walk their dog and tie them out front and that is how the whole idea of making all natural dog biscuits started. Look for the red neon sign that says OPEN and walk on in. The cut out cookies featured now are butterflies and flowers. That will get you in the spring of things.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.