Archive | November, 2015

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek With a Smile

30 Nov

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh


Another week, another squeak! Thanksgiving was great. I celebrated with my friends the Murphy’s and their lovely family. Now, all the hub-bub of Black Friday, Crazy Saturday, Black Sabbath, and Cyber Monday…I made up some of those. I spent most the weekend painting and glittering my ornaments. I have my huge order of 86 done, but lots more to do. Plus, it was a pretty cold, rainy, crummy weekend, so I didn’t miss much.

So, here’s a week in a peek.



Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

29 Nov

“The rain to the wind said,

You push and I’ll pelt.’

They so smote the garden bed

That the flowers actually knelt,

And lay lodged–though not dead.

I know how the flowers felt.” 

― Robert Frost


ANOTHER rainy day! Enough already! The weekend was a wash, and I didn’t even go to the square for the three days of festivities for Home For The Holidays. It was cold and rainy and I have ornaments to paint. 

But, this morning I looked forward to waking up early and greeting before 9 o’clock Mass. Everyone scampered in with soggy umbrellas and hooded jackets. Yet, they all smiled and returned my “Good Morning” greeting at the door. I still get that warm feeling when I see families holding hands or carrying babies as they file in to celebrate Mass. “It’s a good thing…or is it a God thing?” Either way, it’s special.

Today’s Gospel was kind of depressing, yet hopeful. Father Don talked about how our world today is very much like today’s Gospel, with so many tragedies and terrible things happening around the world. But, we must be prepared because we never know when the final judgement will come. 
My take on it…If you are prepared, if you lead a good life, if you have loved and been loved, then you have nothing to fear. I like the part that says, “stand erect and raise your heads.”
LK 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, 

and on earth nations will be in dismay, 

perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.

People will die of fright 

in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, 

for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

And then they will see the Son of Man 

coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

But when these signs begin to happen, 

stand erect and raise your heads 

because your redemption is at hand…

There must have been over 100 umbrellas scattered about outside and inside the narthex. Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of day…

Okay, back to working on my ornaments. “Miles to go before I rest.” Did I mention I’m covered in glitter most the time?

All handpainted, glittered with matching boxes. Not even close to being finished!

Something funny to smile about… 


Saturday:) A Songbird Sings

29 Nov

J.M. Barrie“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” 


The songbird always sings his happy tune

In the light of the day or the dark of the moon.

Perched on a branch, he just warbles and sings

If not just for himself and the joy that it brings.

He may be alone as he soars in the sky

But, God gave him wings so he could learn how to fly.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I heard this bird singing in a tree the other day, and I had to stop and take his picture. I thought it interesting that this is the same bird and same tree in the same moment. As I moved to take the second photo, the bird was in shadow. It made me think that it’s kinda like life…it’s all in the perspective and how you look at things. It’s the same life, you just have to decide if it’s in sunshine or in shadow. Very deep, huh?

When I wax nostalgic, and get inspired by a photo, I write poetry or do a painting. I just thought these were cool pictures. I may try and do a watercolor of this sometime…if I ever get done painting my zillion ornaments.

Happy Saturday!


Friday:) Friendly Faces and Blue Bell Ice Cream

28 Nov

It’s Friday! Time for my famous Black Russian. 

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly… lead the way!” 

― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the 


I love meeting new people and visiting with old friends. I see faces in my brownie mix, in oil spots on the road, and in the frying pan when I’m making eggs. Friendly faces everywhere.

One of the friendliest faces I’ve seen in a long time was that of the Blue Bell Ice Cream delivery man, Greg. If you were not aware, the beloved Blue Bell ice cream, that is a Texas tradition and staple, was pulled from all stores not that long ago. When it returned, jubilation and exhaltation was heard throughout the land. The people are now happy. I am happy. Greg is happy.

 They actually had a sign saying, “Limit of 2 per customer.” People were going nuts and hoarding it.  

I only needed a couple of containers for my Friday night Black Russians. Yes, I see friendly faces in the ice cream! Cheers!


Thankful Thursday:) HAPPY THANKSGIVING

27 Nov

Today, I am thankful for so many things

The  sun in the morning, and the warmth that it brings
The grey clouds of autumn with its fresh gentle rain 

The laughter of a children that your heart can’t explain

Holding hands before dinner, bowing heads in a prayer

Most important of all, is the love that we share.


~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Today I am thankful for so many things, health, family, friends, phone calls, and texts of well wishes for a happy Thanksgiving. At first, I was going to just stay home alone today and mope. I said, “It’s just another day.” But, I was invited by a couple of different friends, and I told them, “Thanksgiving is for families.” My family was broken and my loved ones far away. I wasn’t feeling very festive. Too many memories of family holidays that will never be the same. 

Then last night, I was up till almost 2am painting and working on ornaments, and I checked my Facebook page before bed. My dear friend Sherri Murphy posted a picture of her homemade place cards for her dinner table, and she said, ” And I made one for Toni and I hope she will come and join us.” Well, after I wiped away the tears, I replied, “Guess who’s coming for dinner?”

I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends who have become my family. For this I am truly thankful.

Sherri and Michael Murphy, on the far right, have shared their home and their hearts with me for many years. I love you guys!

Oh yes, if I was going to go to dinner, of course, I would have to bake some of my famous brownies and make a funny face before mixing. I had to contemplate a long time to think of a way to make a turkey funny face in my brownie mix, as per my tradition. Here’s what I came up with.

I thought it was pretty cute. Weird, but cute. They always taste delicious after I get done being goofy.



Wednesday:)Words  of Wisdom

26 Nov

Rejoice in the beauty of each sunrise and you will bask in the glow of each sunset.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“For a cheerful mind, sun never sets; for a cheerless mind, sun never rises!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan


As you may or may not know by now, I take pictures of EVERYTHING. I have over 1,400 photos on my iPhone and I have to keep deleting to add more. It keeps telling me I have no more room. I know…I’m suppose to put them on my lap top, but I like seeing them all on my phone.

But, my absolute favorite photraphs are the amazing sunrises and sunsets that I see on my walks. Each day is more spectacular than the last. It almost takes my breath away.

Therefore, my words of wisdom for today…look at each sunrise or sunset closely. The sky is an ever changing canvas of glorious colors and hues. It’s like a free IMAX movie that is always a new release. Maybe grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.


Tuesday Tip of the Day:) When It’s Cold, Make Soup

25 Nov

“So when you’re coldFrom the inside out

And don’t know what to do,

Remember love and friendship, 

And warmth will come to you.” 

― Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome


The weather has started to get chilly, even here in North Texas. When I get cold, I make soup. It wasn’t that long ago that I made a big vat of potato soup, but I gave most of it away to friends and neighbors and froze a couple of small containers. So, when I looked in the fridge to see what to make for dinner the other day, I still had about eight small potatoes, so I decided to use them up and make another vat of soup.

The last batch was just a tad bit too spicy, ( I add a little hot salsa or jalepeños) not much, but a little, so I combined the containers from the freezer with the new batch, and it was just right. It was delicious, and yes, I gave most of it away. But, sharing soup and friendship is all part of what warms the heart from the inside. Don’t you wish you lived next door? Me too! You can never have too many friends. 

Kathy across the street texted me after she had some soup for dinner and said, “You can never move away!” I don’t plan on it. Well, I guess I’m going to warm up some soup now. All this talk is making me hungry.


Montage Monday

24 Nov

When you start to do the things that you truly love, it wouldn’t matter whether it is Monday or Friday; you would be so excited to wake up each morning to work on your passions.” ― Edmond Mbiaka


It’s November and the temps are pretty chilly. No more complaining about 100 degrees and sweltering summer nights. Now, let’s all complain about winter just around the corner. Folks back home in Chicago got lots of snow already. It’s Monday, a good day for complaining. I had a great day, so no complaining here. Hope you all have a good week. Oops! I forgot I’m in Texas…y’all have a good week!


Sunday Sermon, Sunshine and Smiles

22 Nov

“Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.” ― Walt Whitman


A beautiful sunny day here in McKinney. I had the loveliest surprise on my way to church this morning. I was driving down Stonebridge Dr., when who did I see walking down the street but my two dear friends Sherri and Michael. Of course, I just slammed on my brakes and stopped to chat. Only a few cars had to buzz around me. Then, you know me. I had to get a photo op in. “Hi Murphy’s!”

Great way to start my morning. Then, I did my greeting thing before Mass, holding the door open, smiling, shaking a few hands, and greeting all who entered. I’m getting pretty good at it. I still take a little Match Box car every Sunday for my young friend Landon. He always has a big smile. Isn’t he cute!

Today, we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. Father Charles related the Gospel to a king who so loves his people that he doesn’t ask his army to go out and do the fighting for him, but goes out and sacrifices his own life for his people. 

My take on it…don’t ask anyone to do anything that you are not willing to do yourself. Lead by example, love by example. That’s what Jesus did. 


Gospel, John 18:33-37

33 So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

34 Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?’
35 Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’
36 Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.’
37 Pilate said, ‘So, then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’


After Mass, the Knights of Columbus were hosting a pancake breakfast, so Miss Virginia and I walked over and had breakfast and met a nice couple from Frisco. Afterwards, I walked over to my car, ready to leave, and realized that the 11 o’clock Mass was starting in 15 minutes. I turned off my car and thought…I should go over and greet for the next Mass for a few minutes while I’m here, as they are having trouble getting  anyone to sign up for greeters. I never get to see the 11 o’clock Catholics. I saw a lot of new faces and smiles, then left after Mass started.

Yes, it was a nice Sunday morning with sunshine and smiles.

I always bring my own sunshine!

Saturday:) Social Butterfly on the Square

21 Nov

“Butterflies are nature’s tragic heroes. They live most of their lives being completely ordinary. And then, one day, the unexpected happens. They burst from their cocoons in a blaze of colors and become utterly extraordinary. It is the shortest phase of their lives, but it holds the greatest importance. It shows us how empowering change can be.” 
― Kelseyleigh Reber, If I Resist


I’m not going to complain about the dropping temps here in Texas because all my friends back in Chicago are posting pictures of their big snow storm. 

It was a lovely sunny day, so after my writing group, I scooted over to the square to visit with friends. Elizabeth and Kaylyn were pretty busy at Sweet Spot brewing up hot chocolate and grande mocha mociadohadyyacallits (I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t know all the dumb names for the dumb coffee.) But, I did take a quick group selfie between surges.

Miss Elizabeth was being silly. At least they didn’t do the bunny ears behind me.

Then I went over to the visitors center to chat with Miss Sue. I wanted to take her picture, but she said, “Let me take yours.” Ok!

They had their tree up already. Next weekend is the big HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS event. A lot of fun things to do on the square next weekend.

I took another selfie with my little friend, Big Foot, outside the visitors center.

We have the same hair-do, long and straggly and wind blown.

Like the caterpillar, this butterfly has burst from her cocoon to “become utterly extraordinary.” 

As the quotes says about the butterfly, “It is the shortest phase of their lives, but it holds the greatest importance. It shows us how empowering change can be.”