Archive | September, 2016

Thankful Thursday:) An Open Letter to God

29 Sep

“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” ― Thomas Goodwin


This afternoon, I was sitting at the Honda dealer service center, waiting for an oil change and tire rotation. I brought my iPad with the intention of writing my blog while I waited. Not really sure what I would write about, I scrolled through emails and checked my Facebook posts. I ran across a shared link from Leslie Luscombe entitled, “Dear you.. A letter for all the hard days.”

I have written many “Open Letters” to myself, my sons, family, friends, my ex, the ex’s girlfriend, and I just emailed them to myself. Most of them were painful and tearful letters,  getting things off my chest and venting. But, some were letters of appreciation and thanks to those earthly angels who were always by my side. When I look back at those early letters from over three years ago, I can see how far I’ve come. But, I know that I still have a long way to go. So, I continue to write.

Dear You…a letter for all of the hard days

When I saw this idea about sending yourself a letter to get you through the hard days,  I thought to myself, I’ve  already done that. But, I’ve  never written an “Open Letter to God.” I need to do that. I have so much to be thankful for. You might want to give it a try. No one has to see it, or you can share it with the world. Either way, God will see it and He will hear you.


Dear God,

Today is Thursday, September 29, 2016, and the first thing I am thankful for is that I opened my eyes. I get to see the sun shining, the Texas heat has cooling down a bit, and I get to start a new day. I start out each morning by calling my sweet 89 year old mother, Trini. She is an angel here on earth, and I thank God for the blessing of giving me the best mother in the whole wide world. Then, I’ve been blessed with a loving, caring family, and more friends than I could possibly list.

And by the way, God, thank you in advance for the beautiful granddaughter that I will have in December. I know I’ve said many prayers and have lit many candles, so I know you will look out for this new life. I thank you for my two fine sons, Joe and Matt, and for my new daughter Lindsay. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Oh wait…you’re God! You know that already, don’t you?

Thank you for my many friends that bring joy to each day. These are wonderful friends who love me like family because we’ve become family.

I’d also like to thank you for the spectacular sunrise each morning and glorious sunset each evening. I don’t get up early enough to capture many sunrises, but the sunsets have been amazing. Each glowing sky makes me stop in amazement at your wonders.

Well, God…like all your other creatures, I am a work in progress and I appreciate all the help along the way. I will continue to be thankful for your blessings, and now, I think I will write to you more often. Thanks a million times a million.

Your loving child,


Wednesday:) WOW!!! We Did It…30,000 Visitors, Over 60,000 Views

28 Sep

“Success isn’t achieved by what you’ve accomplished for yourself, but rather what you have shared with others.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ve been watching the stats on my WordPress page for several days. I was getting close to the 60K mark of total views, and almost 30 K total visitors on my blog. It’s been an exciting personal challenge for me to see how many people I could reach with my little mundane stories of faith, family, love, heartache, and heartwarming tales that I’ve experienced along this wonderful but bumpy journey we call life. 

My initial personal challenge was to see if I could write a blog every day for entire year. That first day was January 1, 2013, and guess what? It’s been over  3 1/2 years, and I haven’t missed a day. There were a couple of days my story didn’t get posted because of Internet failure, but the story was written and posted later. I haven’t missed a day. I write and share every day

This writing challenge has been more of an inspiration, a healing, and a constant source of joy. I have met many interesting bloggers and have read many fascinating stories and poems, and have seen fabulous photography and videos.

This afternoon, around 3:30, I saw the 29,999 visitors and I was holding my breath waiting for the next number. YES! At 3:34, I saw 30,000 visitors. 1,378 consecutive posts!

The reason I wrote, “We Did It” in the title is because I just wrote the stories and took the pictures. You are the ones who have read, commented, shared, laughed, cried, and prayed along with me. It is OUR journey. I have shared with you, and have learned so much from you.

597 WordPress followers

347 Facebook followers

117 Twitter followers

36 Tumblr followers


Tuesday:) Today~ What a Difference a Day Makes

28 Sep

“When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.” ― Alice Hoffman


Yesterday, we had a rainy gloomy day. Today, the sun was out and it was a beautiful refreshing day. What a difference a day makes!

A view from my umbrella yesterday.

Now, my sunset tonight.

You can never be sure of the weather, but you can always be sure that each day will be a blessing.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

27 Sep

“I love all the days that end in ‘Y,’ and I appreciate the things that end in ‘Y,’ like play, pray, try, sympathy, honesty, sincerity, crazy, cozy, funny…and I can go on and on.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Every day is a good day if you start out with a good thought and a good outlook. Your glass can be half full or just plain ol’ full all the time.

Here’s my week in a peek. Many glorious sunsets, craftiness and silliness. I guess I like words that end with “S,” too.

Sunday Sermon, Pancake Breakfast, Some Silly Stuff

26 Sep

“To obtain wealth beyond measure, seek to make more friends than money.” 

― Richelle E. Goodrich


Finally, a good rain, cooler temps, and Sunday. A good day. 

Today’s Gospel from Luke was the story of the rich man who dined lavishly every day, and the poor man Lazarus, covered in sores who lay at his door. Both died, but Lazarus was taken up to heaven by angels and the rich man suffered in hell. The rich man looked up and asked Abraham for mercy.

Abraham replied,‘My child, remember that you received

what was good during your lifetime 

while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;

but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.


My take on it…You can have all the riches, treasures, and pleasures of the earth, but if you do not share your blessings, if you are not kind and generous to others, if you are dishonest, greedy and selfish, well then, enjoy these few earthly years because that’s all you’re going to get.


After 9 o’clock Mass, the Knights of Columbus hosted a pancake breakfast in the community center. It was a rainy day, but many attended. I sat with some friends and talked with some folks I didn’t know. It was a good morning.

I snuck back in the kitchen and took a picture of the guys hard at work. That’s so nice of them to host this several times a year.

Usually, I stop at the store after church, but I had a hearty breakfast, so I went straight home. It was still drizzling a little most of the day, but Imstill wanted to get out for my walk, so I grabbed my umbrella and went out.

Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy were sitting in their garage, enjoying the welcomed cool afternoon.of course, I was invited to sit and chat. And, seeing that it was almost 5 o’clock somewhere, I was offered a beer, which I graciously accepted. Last time Imsat and had a beer, I staggered home, so this time I only drank half and brought the rest home with me.

Nice folks.

Miss Sandy returned my aluminum pan that I’d brought brownies in last week after her surgery, so I decided to use it as an umbrella. I was a little tipsy, so it sounded like a good idea.

I made it home safely. I don’t drink and drive, but I will walk home three blocks in the rain sipping a Coors. How daring!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday Circus:) Yes, This Is My Monkey

25 Sep

” This is my circus, this is my monkey.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


In Poland, there’s an idiom, Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy . . . literally, “not my circus, not my monkey;” figuratively, “not my problem.”

We are quick to say this is not my problem, let someone else worry about it. Guess what? We are all on this planet together, all in the same circus, and this is our monkey. Help a neighbor, talk to a stranger, make someone smile, and always, always…run away and join the circus.

Say “HI”to my monkey. Yes, this is my circus and thanks for dropping by to visit.

Here is my evening sunset. Welcome to my beautiful circus.

Frustrating Friday:) Thy Name is AT&T

24 Sep

To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.” ― T.F. Hodge


August 24th began the continuing saga of AT&T and Directv frustration.  It took one solid month of calls, emails, websites, more calls, disconnections and complete frustration, and I’m still not sure the issue is resolved.

My story began when I decided that it would be nice to save some money on my huge monthly AT&T bill. When I moved into my new house two years ago, there were all kinds of promos and discounts to get you sucked into signing up for U-verse tv and Internet. Well, after the first year was over, whoa. To retain the same features was a big increase in cost. I even combined my cell phones, tv, Internet, and home phone to bundle and auto pay, and still, outrageous.

When AT&T recently purchased Directv, all the tv commercials, mailings, and promotions were tempting. I received an amazing offer in the mail and decided even if it was for a year, it would be a great savings.

When I called and asked about this promo, the rep said they weren’t familiar with the offer, and what was available in my area was $50 for Directv, $30 for Internet and $9.99 for home phone, no fees, no installation charge. That was the best they could do. It was still around $50 less than I was paying, so I agreed.

Here starts the drama. The first appointment was to get my home phone line changed to voice wireless, and the next day have the dish installed. I called my sister from my home phone after installation, and she asked where I was calling from because her caller ID showed a strange number. They changed my number! No one said they would change my number that I’d had for twelve years. I just wanted to bundle my phones. Five phone calls, a few hours, and a week later, I was able to get my old phone number back. 

The dish was installed, the tech was nice, but basically installed the dish, handed me the forms, handed me the control, and showed me on and off, ready to leave. I had to ask for a little instruction. Then, the tv upstairs wasn’t working, so I had to call again.

Ok, now one week later, everything was working. Then, I received my first bill. Let’s see the savings. My previous bill was $354.80, and my new bill was…$403.80. Yikes!!! 

I’m going to make a VERY long story even longer. Two weeks of calling, being on hold forever, talking to endless people who really didn’t speak English well, I was promised a call from upper management. NO CALL! So, I called again yesterday, insisting to speak to the so called upper management. Finally, after about an hour of run around, giving my account number and password seven times, I was on the line with a woman who said she could fix the problem. Then…disconnected…start from scratch! The foreign accent asking more questions and passwords, “Please hold.” HELP!

Eventually, I’m talking to Natalie who said she was so sorry, and she would handle everything. She asked me what promotion I was offered. I told her the $89 one, but no one knew anything about the special that came in the mail. She also never heard of such a promotion. I said, “I have it right here in my hand.” Her reply was, “I’m so sorry!” Basically, too bad, no such thing. She went into my account and said she would credit the previous overcharges, and fix all the problems. We’ll see.

Here is just some of the paperwork involved. I was talking on my home phone, had the webpage on my iPad, rifling through accounts, and looking up things on my cell phone.

I was this close to pulling the plug on EVERYTHING, but then I’d miss talking to my family and friends on the phone and the Hallmark channel and …

I hope my next bill is correct and resolved, or Jessica Fletcher will have another mystery to solve.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I’m glad it’s Black Russian Friday.

Theme Song Thursday:) Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

22 Sep

“Not everyone believes in signs or divine intervention, but if you open your eyes and your heart, the signs are everywhere.”

~ Toni Armenta Andruakitis


It was already 90 degrees when I went for my morning walk yesterday. I started out slowly, but everywhere I walked, I was greeted by fluttering butterflies. So close I could almost touch them, (I have a couple of really good butterfly stories for another time.) Why were they so perky? Too dang hot out to be perky, but they lifted my spirits, and my pace quickened. Butterflies are the symbol of transformation. You know, metamorphosis, and all.

I wanted to get my walk in early enough so I could relax a few minutes, take a quick shower, and get to the doctor by 1 pm. Just a routine annual exam. You know the kind. Prevention is the best medicine. I’ve got the coolest doctor. Dr. Moolamalla. She is a friend, confidant, with a side order of medical knowledge. She got me through a tough time, and I adore her.

I left with a smile and handful of orders for tests, bloodwork and vaccines that us old folks should be getting. I’ll do that next week. I wanted to do some shopping down that way. Exciting stuff! I got a carbon monoxide detector and some solar lights at Lowe’s. But, when I stepped out of my car in the parking lot, guess what greeted me? Yep, a lucky feather.

Then, I drove over to the dollar store, and another feather.

This one was scrawnier. After all, it was the Dollar Store, but another feather right at my feet.

Over at Ross, yet again, right next to my car. A tiny feather. I looked around by ALL the other cars. No feathers there. Hmm? Go ahead, say coincidence, but my eyes and heart are open.

That was enough shopping for me. I had to run home and bake brownies. Some brownies for Miss Sandy and some for divorce support group at church.

I arrived at St. Gabriel’s a few minutes late, popped out of my car and…no, not a feather, but rather, a lucky nickel. Right there by my foot. Five times luckier than a penny!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

21 Sep

“The best things in life are a warm smile, an honest heart, homemade gifts, hugs and kisses, and warm just out of the oven brownies.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My house smells of freshly baked brownies. Mmmm! My oven is well loved and gets a lot of use. So, what’s been cookin’, you ask. Well, I’ve been doing some baking. Yesterday, it was handpainted wine glasses, champagne flutes and vases. Yes, I bake them in the oven. It helps to heat set them. I was experimenting with some new painting techniques and trying to come up with something turquoise.

I thought a beach scene, perhaps.

A couple of champagne flutes. Hmmm?

I experimented with some frosted glass and silver Sharpie pen. Not bad?

A monochromatic vase?

But, my very favorite thing to bake in the oven is….. Drum roll please…..yes! Brownies. 

The kitchen smells divine. I’m baking some brownies for Miss Sandy down the street. She had surgery yesterday, and hopefully she is home, resting, and feeling good enough to have a brownie. I upsurge hope so.

The brownies are still warm, but I’m pretty cool!

Tuesday:) Today’s Terrific Slideshow Brought to you by…GOD

21 Sep

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” ― Ishmael Beah


Another steamy Texas day, but I still went to Zumba and got out for my walks. My evening walks are my favorite part of my day. The sunsets are always an amazing painting in the sky. As I walk, the sky changes right before my eyes. 

This evening, I saw Mr. Gary sitting on his bench with his sweet dog, Maggie. I stopped to take a short rest, pet Maggie, and chat with Mr. Gary.

As I continued my walk and rounded the corner, the fiery sky was breathtaking. It was so magnificent that people were standing outside their houses, staring at the sky, just as I was.

See…I told you so. Breathtaking, 

Then, I walked down a different street, not on my usual route, trying to catch this fantastic sunset. There at my feet, a lucky penny. Yep, another lucky day.