Archive | January, 2016

Sunday Sermon, a Special Birthday, and a Sunset

11 Jan

When the years fly by like a Texas tornado, it’s good to have strong roots, a loving family tree, and many branches of colorful friends.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

We are all equal in the eyes of God, why not in the eyes of man?

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Wow! It was really cold here this morning. I know, if you’re up North, you’re probably thinking, “Yah, right!” But, it was only 28 degrees and windy. The only saving grace was the sun was out. So, when I went to do my greeting thing before 9 o’clock Mass, I said to myself…(I talk to myself a lot.) “I think I’ll wear my sock monkey hat today, and really make people smile.” I didn’t put it on at first, but I got really cold and thought, what the heck, it’s my birthday, and if you can’t be silly on your birthday, when can you? 

  
The kids all thought it was cool, and a lot of folks just said, “Nice hat,” and giggled on their way in the door. Mission accomplished!

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Gospel, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Today’s Gospel was about the baptism of Jesus by John. The sermon was about how Jesus walked with the crowd and was baptized like everyone else, not seeking special attention.

My take on it… We all have our mission in life, our goals, our dreams. We don’t need flashing lights and marching bands to proclaim our good deeds. We are all equal in the eyes of God, why not in the eyes of man.  Just be good to one another, be honest, loyal, loving and kind. 

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After Mass, I stopped at Sprouts to pick up some groceries, then stopped at Bonita’s house to wish her a happy birthday because we share the same birthday. Birthday sisters!

Then, I did my famous drive by. I called Sherry Murphy and said, “What ya doin’? Are you home?” She said she was just lounging around at home, then she asked, “Where are you?” I replied, “In your driveway!” She said, “Come on in!” (I do this to her all the time.) We chatted a while and she asked what I was doing special for my birthday. I didn’t have any plans, so she said, “Let’s do something!” Sherri put on her shoes and coat, and we went to the square for lunch. Don’t you just love friends that will just drop what their doing for you? Plus, they buy you lunch. 

  
We ran into our good friend, Laura Bartlett at Snug on the Square. (Laura, Sherri, and moi.) Her “Four Funny Females” show was on Saturday at MPAC, and her sister was in town visiting.  That’s what I love about McKinney, you always bump into friends.

 
(Forgot) Last night, I had stopped in Sweet Spot Bakery and visited with Kathy. Selfie time! Friends everywhere!

Today, after lunch, I came home, changed, flittered away time on Facebook, then went for a frigid walk. But, the  sunset was amazing and well worth the frostbite. My friend Jim told me how to get different exposures on my iPhone by just tapping and holding different lights and darks on the screen for better quality images. Did you know that? I didn’t. Pretty cool!

Here’s my sunset shots for tonight.

   

  

Amazing! A beautiful day, a spectacular sunset, wonderful friends, a fabulous birthday. Happy birthday to me! Yes, I’m 29…again…a couple of times plus some. 

Saturday:) Special Book Signing in “”Six Words”

10 Jan

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.” ― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

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My dear friend, Lynne Weinberger, had her book signing at Barnes & Noble today. The book she is featured in is called “The Best Advice in Six Words.” Do you know how hard it is to express a feeling in exactly six words? Not as easy as it sounds. 

It was exciting to have Lynne sign my book. Every writer dreams about having a book signing, with  friends, family, and strangers lined up to get their autograph. Dreams can come true. CONGRATULATIONS LYNNE!

  
 
I’m not going to spoil the excitement my telling you what her “six words” are. You’ll just have to buy the book. (Blatant marketing ploy.)

  
  
I am friends with a famous author!

  

Friday:) The FORCE, Flowers, and Friends

9 Jan

“Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own.I am the force.” 

― Elaine Maxwell

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Yesterday was spent with an early birthday celebration with friends. Today, the FORCE was strong with me, so I started out with an hour at the YMCA, riding the bike and working on the machines, a quick stop at the grocery store, then an hour walk. That was all before 1 p.m. My neighbor, Diane, invited me to lunch for my birthday, and we stopped at a couple of nearby shops. When I got home, the clouds started rolling in, so I decided to get another walk in before the rain.

When I was shopping earlier, I received a call from the florist telling me that a delivery was left at my door. My son, Matt, sent me a beautiful flower arrangement with a big Mylar balloon. I placed it on the table with my many birthday gifts and cards. The funny thing is, it isn’t even my birthday yet. 

You know what I love about my birthday? I get to celebrate all month because I have so many friends. So many people love me. LOVE is the greatest FORCE in the world, and the FORCE is strong with me.

  
  
Yes, the FORCE is strong with me. I am the FORCE. Thanks everyone! Love you!

Theme Song Thursday:) CELEBRATE

8 Jan

“Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.” 

― Carolyn V. Hamilton

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Seeing as I already document every little detail of my everyday life, I guess it becomes a celebration of who I am. And you know what I am? I AM LOVED! I even have a bracelet that says so.

  
My daughter-in-law picked this out for me. (I just love saying daughter-in-law. It’s only been 6 months.) She is so sweet.


Today, I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with some of my girlfriends. We went on a field trip to Van Alstyne, had lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe, and walked around to the various shops. I ate too much, received too many lovely gifts, laughed too much, and purchased too many nonessential items. But HEY, I was celebrating my “29th” birthday! Oops, a couple of those and more.

My birthday isn’t for a few days, but what I love about having so many friends is, I get to celebrate MANY, MANY times. Pretty much all of January.

  
Lots of presents to open. I’d show them all, but that would take all day. A beautiful vintage whiteware bowl to add to my collection, the heart locket necklace I’m wearing, hand-made soap, stationary, fine markers, a bracelet, a cute plaque, and little cakes, and I’m sure I forgot a few things. Then, Karen bought my lunch, and Sherry gave me tickets and invited me to join her at the rodeo in Fort Worth. I am one lucky Texas girl! 

  
Sherry and I are going to the rodeo, yee-haw!

  
We saw this  adorable dog that was dyed these colors. That’s not a costume or clothing. That’s  his real fur, dyed with a natural plant-based dye. So funny!

  
 
…AND CELEBRATED OFTEN! Fortunately, I get to celebrate often.

  
Some very special friends! A very special celebration!

Wednesday:) What Do You See?

7 Jan

Just remember, during the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, that there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”
– Bette Midler 
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So, what do you see when the rose petals fall?

The harshness of winter, or nothing at all?

The seasons foreshadow what time can’t evade.

That bright crimson blossoms must whither and fade.

But there ‘neath the shadows a lone bud awaits,

To weather the storm and to challenge the fates.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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The cycle of life, the cycle of nature is always looming. We can view it as the end of what was or the promise of what can be. That’s what I see when I look at the single rose bush in my front yard. The old roses are faded and whithered. It’s winter, it’s January, there are still strong hopeful buds waiting to emerge. I choose to admire the tenacity of the tiny bud, than to mourn the demise of the beautiful red rose. Hope springs eternal in the Spring.

  

Tuesday:) Time to  Take a Stand, Time to Honor Good People

6 Jan

“When you stand up for what’s right, you never take a back seat.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“Giving up doesn’t define you, but how you stand in every choice and fight in every decision you’ve made reflects your character.” ― Carl Lomer Abia

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The residents of McKinney, Texas have a strong sense of community. It’s a large city with a small town feel. Named the #1 place to live, and ironically, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, the reason for this honor has little to do with money. It has everything to do with the people who live and work here.

Today, I attended the McKinney City Council Meeting along with a packed room of concerned citizens. I was there to voice my concern about the council possibly rejecting a parade street closure permit for the 14 Annual Krewe of Barkus Parade on the square. My friend, Blynda Christian, had called me and asked for my support. Blynda, the founder of the very popular doggie parade, asked her friends to speak at the council meeting, and also stir up some support on Facebook. She is a good friend and has done a lot for the city. 

What was exciting is, before the regular session started, the Mayor had awards and proclamations to present. There was a large police and firefighter presence standing in the back of the room. Officer Maureen “Mo” Messner was presented a certificate and Decemebr 5th was officially proclaimed Officer Maureen Messner Day. Officer Messner saved many school children at a crosswalk when an out of control car went over the sidewalk towards the children. She ran over, leapt into and stopped the moving car, helping the unconscious pregnant woman, breaking a rib during the rescue. 

  
Officer Messner received a standing ovation. (Sorry, blurry picture. I was busy applauding.)

  
The fire department was also honored for their rescues during the recent flooding. 

When it was time for resident comments, there was a stack of cards of those wanting to speak. Mayor Loughmiller said he would randomly call names to come to the podium. Guess who gets called first? Moi! I started by thanking the council for their support and always listening to the concerns of the residents and voting accordingly. I didn’t have any notes, nor read from a well rehearsed script. I just spoke my mind, and explained how the parade is part of the many things that makes McKinney so special. Blynda and several others spoke, and I believe the council will fully support the venue. 

   
 
My voice didn’t shake, and I believe I spoke well, but my face always flushes a bit when I speak in a crowd. Not because I’m afraid, but rather because I am fervent about my subject.  I think it’s important to support your friends, your city, and speak your mind. That’s the definition of community.  

   
 
Blynda Christian knows that Mayor Brian Loughmiller supports the Krewe of Barkus. He and his family often bring their dog to watch the parade. 

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

5 Jan

“Hope

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 

― Alfred Lord Tennyson

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A new day, a new week, a new month, a new year. “It will be happier.” Happy 2016!

  
Here’s to a brand new ending!

  

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

4 Jan

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” ― Mother Teresa

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Today at Mass we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord. This was the time when the three wise men followed the bright star in the sky and found the Holy Family and baby Jesus. They brought him gifts, and honored him, but did not return to tell Herod where they found the baby, as Herod meant to kill Jesus. 

Now my take on it… and don’t get offended, but I call it, ” The Feast of the Three Wise Guys.” I smile to myself because Dad used to put out this life sized, light-up, tacky, Nativity scene in the front yard every Christmas when I was a kid. I always called the wise men…wise guys. So, I had this “Epiphany” today. We can honor people by bringing them gifts, giving of ourselves and our time, or by just giving a smile. That’s why I really enjoy greeting before Mass on Sunday. I’m sharing my joy, my smile, and my time. Those are the best gifts.

EPIPHANY

: a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ

: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way

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After Mass, I gave my friend, Virginia, who saves my seat for me while I greet,  a print of the Virgin of Guadalupe that I had painted in watercolor. Last week she had given me a gift of gloves, because my hands are always cold when I come in and shake her hand. She was so pleased, and she said she wanted Father to bless it for her. Father Don gave it a blessing before we left, but the intersting part is, Virginia said why it was so special. She said, “I named my first child Guadalupe.” This meant a lot to her. I had no idea. A delightful coincidence? But, also a wonderful way to share your gifts and talents with someone special. 
Before I left, I went back inside to take some pictures of the vibrant poinsettias, the Nativity scene, and altar.

   
 
Very lovely!

Saturday:) Stats and Starting the New Year Right

3 Jan

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― L.M. Montgomery

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Yesterday, I was going start off the new year by sharing all the stats, starts, fears, hopes, and dreams of 2015, but I was too busy running around and having fun, starting the new year off with a bang.

One of the highlights of my year was writing my daily blog, finding something to share with the world. I started writing it on January 1st, 2013, with the personal challenge of writing every day for a year, just writing everyday observations and personal thoughts on life. AS OF TODAY, I HAVE WRITTEN EVERY DAY FOR THREE YEARS! Yes, I am an over achiever.

1,106 consecutive posts with 47,789 views and 23,275 visitors. Granted, this is over the course of the past three years, but I find this so rewarding and amazing. Then, I have 548 WordPress followers, 347 Facebook followers, 95 Twitter followers, and 30 Tumblr followers. Wow! I am so honored that so many people have taken time to read what I have to say.    

Yesterday was such a busy day, starting with a long walk in the morning, preparing snacks and art projects for my senior art group at Towne Creek in the afternoon, then joining Lynne and Charlie and friends for dinner with Mexican food complete with mariachis in Grapevine. Then, we stopped at Stan’s in Frisco to listen to music by Bruce and Eric. I didn’t get home till midnight. About 15 hours of non-stop crazy fun. Great way to start the year.

  
Towne Creek, painting and chatting.

   
 
Good food, good friends, and an 8 piece mariachi band. Ay, ay, ay, ay!

  
Bruce and Eric playing some oldies, classics, and original songs.

  

 

New Year’s Day:)Tradition

2 Jan

“Sometimes we follow traditions and don’t know why. That’s what Google is for.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Is it just me, or you you all discumbubulated with Christmas and New Year falling on a Friday ? I thought yesterday was Friday, only to wake up today and it was Friday. I had to go back and edit my post from yesterday. 

So , yesterday I made a big batch of black eyed peas per southern tradition. I already knew the suggested reason for the New Year custom, but I found many people did not. Here’s what I learned. 

The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman’s troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates.
  
I make mine a little different with roasted corn, black beans, salsa, and jalepeños. Then , serve with taco chips. Must be my Mexican heritage of a little further south. But , it’s yummy. 

I have  some with neighbors and friends to share  the wealth , so to speak, and to carry on the tradition.