Archive | January, 2015

Saturday: Something Old, Something New

31 Jan

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
Third day of humility challenge and encouraging someone. Yesterday, some OLD friends met for lunch at a new burger place in McKinney. Michele and David Bernard have been raving about ONE & ONLY Burger and Fries. Our friend Lynne emailed a bunch of old friends and we met at 1 pm. Ohhhhh! The burgers were awesome and the fries were to die for.

I encourage you to try something new with some old friends!


Here’s Gabriel preparing some awesome burgers.

Friday: Farewell to a Special Friend

31 Jan

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie
Day 2 of my humility challenge which reminds me to share and encourage others. Therefore, I’d like to tell you a little bit about a wonderful woman who has been such a vital part of making McKinney the best city in the country to live.

This morning, there was a farewell reception for Barbara Johnson, who has been the executive director of the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts for the past fifteen years. Many friends, dignitaries and local residents packed the Heard-Craig Carriage house to say goodbye and good luck to a lovely lady who shared a wealth of knowledge and endless time with McKinney residents and visitors. Barbara is retiring and she and her husband are moving to Colorado.

The first time I met Barbara, several years ago, she gave me a personal tour of the Heard-Craig House. By the time I left, I felt that I knew everything about the house, the family, and the rich history of McKinney. But, I also felt like I made a new friend. That is a special gift. Over the years, Barbara Johnson has been a great friend to the city of McKinney and all who have had the pleasure of meeting her.

Mayor Brian Loughmiller was honored to present Barbara Johnson with a special award from the city and wish his friend the best of luck.

Thank you Miss Barbara. We love you and are going to miss you so much. Bless you and best wishes!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

Thursday: Thoughts and Prayers Requested

30 Jan

Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the spirit of God.
~ Edwin Keith
Today, I am combining my DAY 1 Humility Challenge from Lynn Parkes with my Thursday Blog. The challenge is not to talk about myself, but to encourage others. I’d like to think that I do that occasionally, but I have a very serious request to ask of you. This will give encouragement to a family in need.

You may or may not know that I’m a huge believer in prayer, angels, blessings, love and friendship, and I know many of you are too. I would like to share a letter from my friends, Barb and Don Wagner, and I encourage you, actually, I implore you to take a few minutes to say a special prayer for their grandson, MARK. I know prayers and good thoughts work because I have been the recipient of many, and I honestly believe that is why I am here today. Here is the letter,..
We would like you all to keep Mark Wagner (27), son of Jon Wagner and grandson of Barb & Don Wagner in your prayers. Mark has been ill for over three years, and no one could put their finger on the cause of his constant pain and multiple kidney stones. He went to the emergency room many, many times for pain and stones.

Many doctors later, UW-Madison found out that two medical institutions misdiagnosed Mark’s real problem. The tumors are growing on his liver, which they say right now are not cancerous, but in time they will probably turn to cancer. These two institutions never told Mark about the enzymes that were in his kidneys, traveling to his spleen and liver. UW-Madison doctors told Mark if they would have treated these enzymes earlier, he would not be having the pain, stones and liver problem today.

Mark just got out of the hospital last Tuesday after they found that he was bleeding internally from his spleen. They found the cause and stopped the internal bleeding. While there, he got pneumonia. After treating him for pneumonia, he was finally released from the hospital. He was told that he could never be left alone because of his condition, anything could happen.

Right now Mark was told his only option is a liver transplant and their hoping he can get one within three months. He is on the state and national list for a transplant. The time limit he has is nine months for a liver transplant, and if he doesn’t get one, it could be the last straw for this young man. He then would have to be treated with Chemo and etc. and hopefully shrink the tumors.

So good people, we are asking for your prayers for Mark as we know God does hear them. Right now he is a prisoner in his own home.
( The Wagner family has been quiet and patient until now. Now, they are requesting prayers for Mark. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the young man. God will hear your prayers. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t believe in prayer, your good thoughts and hopeful wishes will be heard. You just have to think…I hope Mark will get better and that he finds a liver donor. Those thoughts go out into the cosmos. That’s what prayer is.) THANK YOU SO MUCH!



Wednesday Words of Wisdom

29 Jan

We are stuck with technology when all we really want is just stuff that works.
Douglas Adams
When your internet, WiFi, and television are down, you are forced to do what they did in the old days. Read a book!
Why is technology such a driving force in our lives? My internet went out sometime this morning. I just thought it was a local glitch and would be back up by lunch time. But nooooo! I went out for the day, had lunch with my friend, Lynda, hung out on the Square a while , then came home to no internet or television.

Lynne invited me over for dinner and we went for a very long walk. We talked and strolled. She said something profound when I said, “I’m going to be list without my television.” Her comment was, “Why don’t you read a book?” Duh! When is the last time I read a book? 1975? Just kidding, but you know what I mean.

Long and short, ATT is coming out tomorrow. But, in the meantime, I feel lost, despondent, and very annoyed. I’m writing this on my teeny tiny iPhone with my big clumsy fingers hitting all the wrong keys. When I’m done, I’m going to sit down and read the book that my friend Sean Cotter translated from the Romanian, “Blinding,” by Mircea Cartarescu.

When one door closes, another door opens, and when one technology closes, old technology, called your brain, well, that old door is always open.

But, what I “really want is just stuff that works.”

Tuesday Tip of the Day: Enjoy Every Moment

28 Jan

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
Eddie Cantor
While the east coast was being rocked and socked by snow storms and frigid temps, it was a glorious warm sunny day in McKinney. You can’t waste a wonderful winter day like today. I got up early and went to Zumba with my neighbor, Diane. When I got home, I went for a long brisk walk, almost two hours. It’s late January, and I had a t-shirt on, no jacket. It was in the 70’s. Woo hoo!

By 5 o’clock, I was ready for another walk. I was going to soak up each second of sunshine, and enjoy all the sights and sounds of nature. Here are some fabulous photos from my walk.


Several hot air balloons floated in the sky.

A young mom and her baby were feeding the ducks by the pond.

After my walk, I sat on the front step with an iced tea, called my sister and chatted on the phone, and just watched the glorious sun set paint the horizon.




Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
Eddie Cantor
I did that today. I didn’t miss any scenery or a second of sunshine.

Montage Monday: A Week in a Peek

27 Jan

“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Sunshine, shadows, and learning something new summarizes my week. The weather was great, time with friends was fun, and looking back at a wonderful week always makes me smile.

A week in a peek.



Sunday Sermon, Sunshine and Saying “Hello” to Neighbors

26 Jan

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
― Émile Zola
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”
― Oprah Winfrey
I may have used these quotes a while back, but they are oldies but goodies.

Today at Mass, the Gospel was about when Jesus asked, Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him. They were fishermen, so He asked them to become “fishers of men.”

In Father Jovita’s homily, he explained that we often feel that we have a calling. We may not know why we are called or that we are competent, but we have to follow our dreams.

My viewpoint is, if we have a passion or a calling, we have to pursue it, explore it, and excel. I’ve always loved art and writing. I dabble in both, but I need to spend more time on my passions. So do you. They are gifts from God.
Gospel MT 4:12-23
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

It was a beautiful afternoon, so yes, it called for a long walk. The sun was shining, but it was pretty windy. I have another passion. It’s called meeting my new neighbors. Now, when I see a neighbor walking, or outside their house, I make an effort to stop, say hello and introduce myself.

Last week, I saw a lady painting a wooden table inside her garage. I stopped by, said “Hi,” and asked about her project. Her name is Melody, and she refinishes wooden furniture and other Items as a part-time hobby. She does beautiful work. You can tell she is passionate about craft.

Today, I saw her working on a couple of different tables, so I stopped and chatted and got to meet her husband. Nice couple.

Hi Melody Terry!

Oh yes, I saved the world from more flat tires. LOOK… Just from today! Where do they all come from? I’m on patrol every day.

Another calling of mine. What’s your calling?

The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”


Saturday: Sunshine, Shadows, and Saving the World

25 Jan

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Götz von Berlichingen

Sunny days make me smile. They also inspire me to go out for a brisk walk. I walked about an hour before my Saturday writing group at 10. It was a great session, and we actually got some work done in between the laughing and sarcasm. We have the sarcasm down to a science. We stopped for lunch afterwards.(Missed you, Julia) I ran a few errands and drove home.

The lovely sun was sinking slowly into the west, so I donned my gym shoes and headed out the door for an evening walk. (I walk a lot, as you may have noticed. It’s my quiet thinking time.) As the solar sphere made its shimmery descent, I was captivated by the sultry shadows cast along the way.

OK, now I’m just getting bizarre and smaltzy, using my high fillutin’ two dollar vernacular. Ha! Basically, I love shadows. I thought this one was very descriptive.

My shadow between the crossroads and the stop sign of life…think about it. Pretty cool!

Then, of course, as I stroll and patrol the streets, I’m always finding nails and sharp objects. So, I don my super hero cape, pick up the nails, and save the world from mass destruction and flat tires. Here is a week’s worth of super hero activity. I also find lucky pennies and coins as payment for my hard work.

It was a lovely Saturday. I enjoyed the sunsine, the shadows, and saving the world.


Friday: Funny Story

24 Jan

“Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.”
― Chuck Klosterman
Ok, I was saving this funny story for a rainy day. It rained all day yesterday, and today it was sunny, but I’ll share it anyway.

It all started a couple of months before Christmas, I got a phone call from my friend, Magda, who said, “Toni, I got a call from this elderly gentleman who is looking for someone who does china painting. I know you paint on glass, but do you paint on china?” I told her that I hadn’t before, but maybe I could give it a try.

She went on to explain, “Dan had a local artist paint bluebonnets on a special porcelain Christmas gift for his wife every year. He has been doing this for over thirty years. She passed away last year, but he wants to continue the tradition.”

Well, I thought to myself, poor dear, sweet man. His wife passed away and he wants to continue honoring her memory by having this gift made every year. Of course I would do it. I called Dan and we agreed to meet so I could see what he wanted me to paint. I met him at Snug on the Square, and he brought a couple of small white porcelain pieces with painted bluebonnets inscribed with “Sue” on the front and “Love Dan” and the date on the back. He described the glass curio cabinet with the dozens of gifts lining the shelves, and how she treasured each one.

This broke my heart. I told Dan that I’d find a special white piece and paint it for him. I spent weeks scouring antique shops and resale stores looking for just the right object.

I painted a beautiful white fan shaped covered glass box and called Dan. He was pleased that I finished the piece before Christmas. I asked when he’d like to meet to pick it up. He said, “Sue is out of town until tomorrow, and I have my Rotary Club meeting on Friday. How about Friday morning?”

Did you catch the part about…SUE IS OUT OF TOWN? I thought Sue was dead! All this time, I thought I was helping this grieving elderly widower continue his longtime Christmas tradition. Sue wasn’t dead. The lady who used to paint the project for him passed away. Boy, did I feel silly!

I told my friends and family about my silly mix-up. I just laughed and said, “Well, Friday, I have to go meet Dan and give him his bluebonnet gift for his not so dead wife Sue.” I met Dan Friday morning, and showed him the piece He was so happy. He said, “Sue doesn’t have anything like this. She’s going to love it. Thank you!”

I never let on or told Dan that I thought his wife was dead. Some things are best left unsaid. But you have to admit, it was kind of funny. Next time I’m asked to paint something for a dead person, I’m going to make sure I heard the story correctly.
“Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.”
― Chuck Klosterman
Yes, Chuck, I tend to agree.


Here’s Dan and the gift for his very much alive wife, Sue.


Theme Song Thursday: Learning a New Thing

23 Jan

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
A group of ladies from the Art Club of McKinney had the extreme pleasure of attending an alcohol ink painting workshop with Maribeth Jagger today. The group met at Maribeth’s daughter’s studio, Legacy Dance Center in Frisco.(Not Plano as I stated in the video. I didn’t know where the heck I was. Lynne drove.)

Not only was the workshop amazing, but Maribeth outdid herself by giving us all a basket of supplies and tools to work with, and several hands-on demonstrations. Everyone created fabulous works of art and learned many new techniques. THANKS, MARIBETH!

Here’s a little snippet of the workshop. Frisco, TX.

Wonderful workshop Maribeth! Thank you!


Lynda Kingsley sat next to me. I was impressed and extremely jealous.

Lynne Weinberger was having fun.

Here are a few of my masterpieces.

So, my friends, learning something new makes for a great day.