Archive | August, 2016

Sunday Sermon, Some Sad Stuff, and Some Silly Stuff

22 Aug

“When pain brings you down, don’t be silly, don’t close your eyes and cry, you just might be in the best position to see the sun shine.” ― Alanis Morissette


A beautiful day here in McKinney. I jumped out of bed, excited to get ready for church and start my day. When ai arrived at St. Gabriel, the Finley family was already greeting at the door, so I just joined them, greeting and smiling. 

The Gospel was interesting with the story of Jesus telling who will be saved on the final judgement day. Father Don said that this has been a constant question in the Catholic Church. No one knows for certain. Can a good person go astray or a bad person repent, then how will he be jugpdged?

My take on it… You can’t go back and forth. You can’t be good one day and bad the next. You have to be constant, faithful, honest and sincere all your life. Not just when it’s convenient. Yes, you can change your evil ways, but you must be truly repentant, constant, faithful, honest, and sincere. There’s no revolving door. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate,” (Just my opinion.)

Gospel LK 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages,

teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. 

Someone asked him,

“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 

He answered them,

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,

for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter

but will not be strong enough. 


Now, the sad stuff. Two years ago, my now ex-husband, stopped at the house that I was forced to sell and leave, to hand me the final divorce papers. He went to the court hearing, presented the papers to the judge with our mediator, then dropped the official signed documents off with me. With the coldest most callous empty face, he handed me the stack of papers, walked back to his car with a handful of things he had left behind, without so much as an I’m sorry, take care, nothing, nada. He didn’t turn around or look back. He walked out of my life. We were together forty three years, married thirty-nine. We haven’t spoken since. Not a word. I went in the house and cried.

Now, the happy silly stuff. Two years has not flown by, but it has trickled slowly into a new happier life. The demons and the bad dreams and the heartache still pop up now and then, but I have been blessed with the most amazing family, the greatest friends, a new house, and a new chapeter in my life. 

I walk pretty much every day, often twice a day. After church, I stopped at Walmart, which was not the smartest thing to do the day before school starts. Yikes! I came home, changed, and went for my walk. I usually bump into a neighbor or two. 

It was very hot today, and I was hoping Mr. Larry would be sitting in his usual chair in the garage so I could stop, rest, and chat. The garage door was open, the two chairs were there, but both empty. No Mr. Larry, no Ms. Sandy. So, I did what any friendly neighbor would do. I opened up the well stocked fridge they have right there, grabbed a beer, and sat in my designated chair. I sat there a good ten minutes, sipping a Coors and watching the neighbor’s go by. (Selfie moment)

A few neighbors I didn’t even know waved hello. I live four blocks away, and I don’t know any of these folks. Finally, I knocked on the back door and Ms. Sandy appeared. 

I said, “I’m out here drinking all by myself. Come on out and join me.” So she did and we chatted. I said, “Mr. Larry always says to help myself any time, so I did.”

About fifteen minutes later, Mr. Larry strolled up from down the street. He had been visiting with a neighbor. There I sat in his garage, in his chair, drinking his beer, and talking to his wife. He smiled.

I said, “Hey Mr. Larry. Where ya been? Can I offer you a beer or somethin’?” He just chuckled, grabbed a beer and joined in the conversation. 

Ms. Sandy always has a smile and Mr. Larry always looks stern, but he is as funny as all get-out. I finished my beer, was offered a second, but declined, as I was already a little tipsy. One beer, no breakfast, long walk in the heat, needless to say, I was walking a little crooked the four blocks home.

It’s been a long road, but the road has been paved with so many good moments along the way. I have been blessed and will continue to focus on the positive. “I will strive to enter through the narrow gate,” as today’s Gospel suggests. And, I may stop to have a beer along the way. So, be careful not to leave your garage door open unless you want a visitor to sit in your chair and drink your beer. 


Saturday:) A Rainy Day From My Umbrella 

20 Aug

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” ― Bill Watterson


Complaining about the weather is a national pastime. Here in North Texas, we went from hot, hot, hot and dry, to … hot, muggy, humid and rain, rain, and more rain. This rain puts a damper on my daily walks, but that’s why God created the umbrella. Well, He actually didn’t create it, but he made the guy who invented it and brought it into existence. Same thing!

So, as not to be negligent on my daily inspirational walks, I took some photos from under my umbrella.

The ducks really enjoy the rain. The pond is way over its banks, so they can just waddle in and go kerplonk.

Friday:) Funny Furry Online Doggie Dating (TOO CUTE!)

19 Aug

“Life is an experiment in which you may fail or succeed. Explore more, expect least.” ― Santosh Kalwar


I was checking my emails and writing my blog when my little furry friend, Bella, decided that she was more interested in my iPad than her nap.

Perhaps, she thought I was not paying enough attention to her. She kept flipping the iPad up with her nose as if to say, “Put that darn thing away already!” She often barks at the TV if there are dogs or animals on the screen, or when I try to get a selfie of the two of us, she is infatuated, or maybe a better term is, perplexed at the image of the dog that looks like her.(Does she really even know that is her? I don’t think so.) 

I decided to conduct an experiment. So, I googled the word DOG and clicked on images. This really got her excited. All the hundreds of little pictures reminded me of online dating. I thought it would be interesting to show her some pictures to observe her reaction, and see if she liked any handsome hound or dashing dachshund in particular. A little online doggie dating.

This is really cute. Well, at least I thought so.

I’m going to call it WOOFMATCH.COM.

Thankful Thursday:) Saying Thank You

19 Aug

“The best way to say thank you for your blessings is to bless others with a thank you,”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Yeah! We finally got some rain today! Not a lot of rain, but every little bit helps. The day was gloomy and muggy, almost steamy. I was grateful for the rain, but the heat and humidity made it feel for like a sauna outside.

I went for a morning walk, and by the time I came home, I was so sweaty that I slid in the door and guzzled three glasses of water. Shortly after I got home, I could hear the lawn mowers and leaf blower out my back door. Whenever I’m home, I go out and give the guys who mow my lawn some cold Dr. Peppers and some cookies or if I have any brownies lying around. 

Today, I decided that ice cream bars might be appreciated a little bit more. So, I went out to give them the ice cream, but the last guy had just closed the door and the truck started driving away. Thank goodness I know Spanish. I yelled out, “Espera!” (Wait) The truck came to a halt and one of the men jumped out. He probably thought there was a problem.

I handed him three ice cream bars and said, “Muchas gracias!” (There are always three guys) He had a big smile and said,”Gracias!” and scurried back to the truck. I’m sure the guys appreciated something cold and refreshing on such a muggy day. But, I’d also like to think that they felt good knowing that I appreciate what they do. They work hard, they make my house look nice, and I don’t think very many people ever say thank you.

I am very blessed. I blessed these gentlemen with a thank you and some ice cream on a hot day. Then, I decided to bless myself with an ice cream too. Why not!

Oh, the funny part of the story is, when I flung open the freezer door to grab the ice cream bars, I noticed that the inside of the freezer was all drippy with frost and hanging icicles. When I investigated the problem, turns out that an ice cube had been lodged in the ice dispenser flap and was letting the warm air into the freezer. I needed a spatula to scrape away the ice and frost. It was lucky that I went in there, as I rarely open the freezer door. Who knows what would have happened if left undetected until Friday night when I make my Black Russian with chocolate ice cream. Yikes! 

Wednesday:) When The Summer Sky Surrenders

17 Aug

“Sunset: When the flaming surrender of the sun bathes the horizon in hues of glorious color.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Every, and I repeat, every evening reveals a spectacular sunset, whether it be a flaming red sky or a misty layer of billowing clouds. Each is unique. Each is breathtaking. I still can’t understand how someone can look at a sunset or sunrise and not believe in miracles.

Last night, I was driving around an unfamiliar part of north McKinney, looking for a house in Trinity Falls. As usual, I got really, really lost. My half hour excursion turned out to be an hour and forty minute frustrating scenic tour of beautiful rural McKinney. By the time I got home, it was almost dark, so I scooted the car into the garage, grabbed my key, and went for my evening walk. I was determined to march out my directionally impaired frustrations. 

Instead of being upset, I was greeted by the most amazing sunset that seemed to change by the minute. After standing in awe for a few moments, literally breathing in the beauty, I took out my phone and snapped a few pictures. Photos never do the subject justice, but look at these, and imagine a sight twice as colorful and glorious.

Tell me you don’t believe in miracles.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Topsy-Turvey Tip Of The Day

17 Aug

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


To say I’m strange and do goofy things is putting it mildly. I make faces with my brownie mix, I save dryer lint, and the list goes on. I’m always thinking of innovative ways to conserve, save the environment, and repurpose every day items. I think I mentioned before that I like to put my watermelon rinds in my glass pitcher of water to make fruity water, but the other day, I had cut up several real delicious papayas, and thought…hmm…how can I infuse this into my water? It seemed so wasteful to throw out the rinds. I looked around for something to infuse with. I couldn’t find anything big enough with holes.

Light bulb moment…In the container where I keep all the wooden spoons and spatulas, I found a whisk. Maybe?

I wedged the thin slices of papaya skins into the whisk. They slid in very nicely and stayed caged inside. Mind you, these are just the outside washed skins or peelings, the actual papaya was cut up and put in a fruit salad earlier. But, there’s always some fruit left. Waste not, want not.

The whisk worked perfectly.It’s stainless steel and plastic, it fits in the pitcher nicely, the rinds do not escape and float around, and the water is flavored and tastes like papaya. When the water is consumed, I just add more water, pop it in the fridge, and it’s a refreshing drink for summer and lasts several days.

So, that’s my tip for the day. It may sound silly, but it tastes pretty good.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Steamy Peek

15 Aug

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

It’s been a very hot and steamy week here in McKinney, in the great state of Texas. But… we finally got a little rain today and the gloomy grey clouds have hovered overhead with a thick protective blanket. Thank you clouds. It always amazes me how a gloomy rainy day can be treasured by so many. Yay, rain!

A week in a peek. I had a good hot week with hot friends and hot weather, and I hope your week was swell. Does anyone say swell anymore?

And for my friends and family back home in Chicago. It’s been hot there too, but pretty soon you’ll be shoveling.

Sunday Sermon and Some Confused Cumulus Clouds

14 Aug

“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.” 

― Josh Billings


It was a beautiful Sunday and lovely day…finally…here in McKinney. Instead of blistering heat, we had a cool breeze with white fluffy threatening clouds to block the heat of the sun. Everyone was cheery and smiley on the way into 9 o’clock Mass. 

I love to stand at the door with my friend, Mary. We say good morning, shake hands and get a few welcome hugs here and there as we greet all who enter. (Construction for the new sanctuary underway in the background.)

Good Morning. Welcome to St. Gabriel’s.


Today’s Gospel was about Jesus telling the disciples that households will be divided after His coming. Father’s homily focused on the positive aspect of the family. Instead of being divided on faith and values, he said it is our responsibility as parents, guardians and friends to lead by example. Teach our faith by example. We don’t have to be divided. 

My take on it…You can ram religion down someone’s throat and it will never make them a believer. But, if you live your life guided by your faith, set a good example, then your children, family, or friends will learn and can choose accordingly, willingly, and faithfully.


Gospel LK 12:49-53
Jesus said to his disciples:

“I have come to set the earth on fire,

and how I wish it were already blazing! 

There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,

and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? 

No, I tell you, but rather division. 

From now on a household of five will be divided,

three against two and two against three;

a father will be divided against his son

and a son against his father,

a mother against her daughter

and a daughter against her mother,

a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law

and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”


Now, for the confused cumulus clouds. Friday, when I was over at Towne Creek, it rained like crazy on the east side of town. I came home…no rain, nada, not a drop. Yesterday, it was supposed to rain. Nope! This morning, big white fluffy clouds and dark in the distance, then the sun tried to pop out. The clouds are so confused. Don’t just stand there! Do something already! Isn’t that your job?

Seriously Lazy Saturday:) Procrastination is My Middle Name

14 Aug

“Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will–tomorrow” ― Gloria Pitzer


Every now and then, I have one of those days. You know, the kind where you look at the piles of laundry, the unmade bed, the dishes piled in the sink, and you decide that today is an official procrastination day. (I have many of those.)

This morning, I got a text at 9:17 a.m. from my neighbor that I was doggie sitting for. He said, “Just landed. I’ll text you when I get home.” I replied, “Well, I guess we better get up then.” Granted, I didn’t go to sleep till almost 2 a.m., but I didn’t have anything I had to set my alarm for, so neither my doggie buddy nor I were in a hurry to get up.

I fed little Bella, then we went for a short walk in the park. By the time we strolled past the pond, Mr. Mike texted that he was home, so I dropped her off. Doggie sitting is very rewarding. It’s like having a dog without the responsibilitities or the vet bills. She loves to see me, wags her tail, we go for long walks, watch tv, then I take her home. Kinda sounds like being a grandma, doesn’t it?

After I dropped her off, I did continue my walk. I try to walk every day, but it’s not considered a chore or home project that should get done, it’s just my daily routine. Housework can wait, my walk cannot.

It was a bit overcast, so not as dreadfully hot as the past few days, but still pretty dang hot. I managed a little over 5 miles before I decided to go home and collapse under the ceiling fan.

Nice clouds. Nice view on my walk.

Well, that’s all I got done all day. I walked. It’s nearly 8p.m. I haven’t even eaten anything besides a few bites of watermelon and a handful of nuts. Oh..wait…I did do something else.! I took a nap. And now, I write this blog. 

Seriously Lazy Saturday. Everyone deserves one now and then. I hope you can enjoy procrastinating every now and then with the same dedication and conviction that I have achieved.

Friday:) Friends Who Paint Together

13 Aug

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” ― Pablo Picasso


I go to Towne Creek the first Friday of the month, but because I was at Crescent Moon Lodge last week, I went over there today. This morning,m I walked two miles, went to the store to pick up snacks, cake, ice cream, and root beer, made a dozen little sandwiches, packed up painting supplies for our class, then raced off to volunteer for my painting class. 

I brought all the supplies to paint vases today. I did a quick demo on varagating color from blue to pale blue to white. When I looked at the color, I thought…hmmm…it looks like the sky and the sea, so I decided to make a landscape. I painted in a few clouds and trees, and voila!

We had a young high school student visiting us today. Alex has been visiting and volunteering all summer, painting cute scenes in the laundry room, and a big logo at the entrance. I later found out that she helped clean up and organize the crazy crammed art closet after a leak and flood burst through the closet ceiling. It was very clean. Wow!

Miss Nelma and Alex.

Miss Kathy. Her vase kinda looked like her blouse.
While our vases were drying, we had our feast of ham sandwiches, Fritos, root beer floats, then chocolate cake and ice cream.

It’s a tough life…the artist life. But we manage.