Thankful Thursday:) Thank You, One and All

23 Feb

“You need a really solid foundation of friends and family to keep you where you need to be.”

~Lilly Singh


It’s only been one week since Mom passed away. It sure does seems like a lot longer. But, today, I’d just like to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all the friends and family who have prayed and called and sent good wishes and love.

I have been blessed with a “really solid foundation of friends and family.”

For once, I am at a loss for words. Just two keep coming to mind, “Thank you,” Oh, also these two words, “Love you.”

Pennies From Heaven:) A True Story About An Angel

22 Feb

If you don’t believe in angels

I’m here to say it’s true

There are angels up in heaven

They’re watching over you,

So, I asked my angel mother

I whispered in her ear

When you get up there in heaven

Please show us you are near.

If only you could send a sign

As only angels can

We will know you’re safe in heaven

And that you have a plan.

To watch and guard us every day

You’ll guide us from above

So, you left two lucky pennies

Beneath your painting, signed with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This is a true story of faith and love and angels. As my sweet mother grew weaker and less alert, my sister and I would talk to her and sing to her. I prayed the rosary out loud to comfort Mom during her final days. One of the last things I whispered in her ear was, “Please Mom, when you get up to heaven, could you show us a sign that you’re OK, that there really is a heaven? I know if anyone could do it, you could. I know you’ll always be my guardian angel.”

We’ve done a lot of crying since Mom passed away last week, but today, the crying was a celebration. Mom left us a sign. Those of you who know me, you already know that I believe in lucky pennies. They always appear out of nowhere when I need them most. I always look up to heaven and say, “Thank you.”

This afternoon, my sister and I went out for some lunch. We’ve spent days and days sorting and reminiscing and making arrangements and crying, It’s been a whirlwind, so it was good to get out of the house for a little while. My sister said, “Let’s go to the library so I can vote. They have early voting, and we can return Mom’s audio-books.”

Well, early voting hadn’t started yet, so we just returned the books and got a bit teary-eyed, because Mom loved the library and all the people. She had donated her very large “Cinco de Mayo” painting to the library several years ago. It takes up an entire wall on the second floor. When I asked my sister if she needed any books or videos while we were there, she said, “Not really, let’s just go home.” Then I said, “Should we go upstairs and see Mom’s mural before we go?” Of course, we needed to do that.

The elevator opened and we walked ever so slowly towards the mural.

There on the bench, right beneath her painting, were two lucky pennies from heaven. We both burst into tears as I blurted out, “Here’s our sign. I asked Mom to send us a sign. Here it is! Two pennies, not just one. What are the chances that they would be here waiting for us today, right beneath her painting?”

I hadn’t told my sister the story about asking Mom to send us a sign until that moment. If she didn’t believe in angels before, I’m pretty sure she does now. We both knew Mom was an angel here on earth, but now, we both know that she’s up in heaven. She gave us a sign.

Thanks Mom.

What does “Pennies from Heaven” mean?

You might have come across this phrase “pennies from heaven?” It’s meaning is not as simple as it sounds. Thinking about it just means pennies being tossed down from the heaven, which has no significant meaning. But, let me enlighten you about the true meaning of this phrase. Pennies from heaven indicate the occasion when angels miss you and therefore, toss down a penny from the heaven that you receive. That penny signifies the fact that some angel in heaven is missing you and therefore wants to communicate with you.

Spiritual meaning of finding pennies

We all are aware of the fact that numbers are attached with a significant spiritual meaning but, have you ever wondered that pennies might have spiritual meaning attached to them too? If not, you will know soon.

The spiritual meaning of finding pennies from heaven is that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. It is a sign from the Heaven and our loved ones who have passed away. The sign indicates that there is magic in the world we live in, and those that have passed away are watching over us in a spiritual way; it’s their way of showing love and reminding you that they still are a part of your life.

(From Blog of the Angels)

Toni’s Tasty Tuesday~ Chicago Style

21 Feb

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Chicago, gobble up all the great food before you go back home,”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Three little words…Maxwell Street Polish. Oh my, this was so good. I haven’t had one since last year, and it was worth the wait. A huge grilled polish sausage, almost crispy on the ends, smothered in grilled onions with a goodly squirt of yellow mustard. Portillo’s is one of the best places to get one, besides going down to Maxwell Street in the city.

I remember back when I was in college at UIC. (Just a few years ago…ha ha) The Maxwell Street food truck would park by the administration building, tempting us with the aroma of hot dogs, polish, and fresh greasy fries. Brings back memories. Good memories.

I’ve tried duplicating this cuisine back in Texas. Can’t be done. I guess I’ll have to keep visiting to get my Chicago food fix. Home and home cooking, well, food from home, just can’t beat it.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

20 Feb

“Mothers are the fountain of creation”

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah


Five days later, and it all seems surreal. Writing and sharing is healing for the soul.

Sunday Sermon and Some Special Smiles

19 Feb

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven


I was able to attend Mass at Mom’s place this morning. It was surreal, being there without her, yet, I knew she was there in spirit. Tom, the volunteer, had some very kind words and memories to share about Mom. Everyone was sad and shared their condolences and hugs. My son, daughter-in-law and beautiful baby joined us for the service. It was very special.

They were looking for a volunteer to read the second scripture reading for today. I was thrilled because Mom always used to say the second reading for many years. I was honored.

Reading 2

1 PT 3:18-22


Christ suffered for sins once,

the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,

that he might lead you to God.

Put to death in the flesh,

he was brought to life in the Spirit….

The reading continued with sacrifice, death, and now sitting at the right hand of God. My take on it….we sacrifice for those we love, and God so loved the world that he sacrificed His son. Love doesn’t have to be painful, but we should be willing to share and sacrifice for our loved ones, and also for our friends and neighbors, and even strangers. If everyone “Loved their neighbor” the world would be a wonderful place. Until that happens, you and I can do our part in our own little corner of the world.

After Mass, we went back to Mom’s and looked through pictures and talked and shared memories. The baby was so cute. When I look at her, I am reminded of my sweet Mom and how much she loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The legacy lives on.

Saturday:) Sorting Through the Photos and the Memories

18 Feb

“A good photograph never belongs to the past; every time you look at it, it is with you, it is alive and it is in the present moment!”

Mehmet Murat ildan


I’ve been sorting through hundreds of Mom’s photos,realizing that she neatly organized them in absolutely no form or fashion. There are dozens envelopes secured with ancient rubber bands, and a few small albums with artwork and art shows. They were in a bunch of file boxes. The photos are interspersed with pictures from the 70’s, mixed in with recent great-grand-baby pictures, and a few copies of faded wedding pictures from the 40’s, all mixed together. No time line. Then, my sister informed me that that was just the pile in the top part of the cabinet. There are hundreds more in the lower cabinet.

I decided to sort as many as I could in a few boxes into several categories. Family, friends, artwork, the place where she lived, and then her individual pictures of her alone.

This is going to take a very long time. Not only am I trying to organize the pictures, I’m looking at each one and remembering each event. It’s like a movie newsreel that jumps all over the place. I have become a “time traveler.”

The one common theme in all the photographs is, “My mother was an amazing woman.”

Friday:) From One Angel to Another

17 Feb

You should never feel alone there’s always someone to turn to, it is the Guardian Angel who is watching over you.

K. Sue


Just when I thought my tears were safely tucked away for a while, I opened my phone to check my email and texts. I noticed a new photo post from my son and daughter-in-law. It was my beautiful granddaughter, sitting next to my Mom at Christmas time. Mom was reading her a story. That was less than two months ago, and now Mom is in heaven. Look how intently she’s looking at and listening to her great-grandma. Not only does she bear a strong resemblance, but she bears Mom’s name for her own middle name. We are so blessed to keep her name and legacy in the family.


I know Mom will be watching over this little angel.