Archive | September, 2016

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

20 Sep

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” 

― John Berger

***********

A week of glorious sunrises and amazing sunsets, old friends, and new acquaintances. What is captured by the camera is captured by the heart. 

Sunday Sermon and Something Spiritual

19 Sep

“God puts many people in your path, but ultimately, you are the only one who can choose which path to follow.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

********************

We had a doozie of a downpour this morning around 6:30 a.m. My alarm was set for 7, but I actually reached over to change it to 7:30, thinking that if it’s still storming, I’ll wait to go to a later Mass instead of my usual greeting before 9 o’clock Mass. 

As luck would have it, the storm passed quickly, and by 8:00 it was already warm and sunny. So, off I went.

Today’s Gospel was about the steward who squandered his rich master’s money. He decided, since he was being fired, that he would go to the rich man’s debtors, and renegotiate their debt, giving them a lesser payment. This way, the debtors would be happy and the steward would be in their good graces if he needed their help. Then, the rich man heard this, and instead of being angry, he commended the steward. That was the confusing part.

My take on it, with a little insight from the Loyola Press is… Even if you make some bad mistakes, you have to look to the future. You try and make things right. At the end it said, you cannot serve two masters. If money and greed are your master, you can’t expect to serve God. 

********

After Mass, I usually meet Mr. Jerry, who sits behind me, over at McDonald’s for coffee, but he was on vacation. I decided to scoot over to Walmart to get one of those big bouncy exercise balls, so I can sit and bounce and watch tv. While I was in the produce aisle, I bumped into a lady I saw at church. I said, “Hi, I saw you at Mass this morning.” She smiled and complimented me on my red shirt, and I told her that I loved her pretty blouse. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, then parted with a quick, “See you next Sunday.”

A good forty-five minutes later, I was deciding which check-out lane to try when I bumped into Rose-Marie again. This time we stopped to chat. She asked where I lived and if I went to evening adoration. We decided to exchange phone numbers and said that maybe we could meet sometime for coffee. I told her that I was an artist and writer, and I wrote a daily blog, just about people and places around town. I got out my phone and said, “Selfie time.” She just giggled, a little embarrassed, and I said, “Unless you’re in witness protection, I hope it’s ok to take a picture and write about our meeting.”

I went on to tell Rose-Marie that I’ve found that God puts interesting people in my path, and perhaps we were meant to meet on this nice sunny Sunday.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take more than one quick pictures, so you can’t see her big gorgeous dark eyes.

As we got to talking, my new friend shared that she was a charismatic. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she explained that God has blessed her with the gift of sharing his words. She talks to people and God tells her what to tell them. Not like a psychic or anything like that. But, I do believe that some people have gifts and powers that can’t be explained. Anything is possible.

She looked right into my eyes and said, “God tells me that you are a very loving and giving person. You share your joy with many people. You have a special light.” Well, gosh. I already knew that…just kidding. But, it’s easy to see that. I always smile and laugh and talk to strangers. That’s my personality. 

Now, here’s  the strange spiritual part. She continued to compliment me about all my attributes as I smiled and then she said, “But, God wants you not to worry so much about the past. You need to move forward. He has great plans for you.” 

Oh my, tears started to form in my eyes. Why did this almost total stranger, who only saw a cheery smiling woman in a bright red shirt in the produce aisle at Walmart, why did she say, God wants you not worry about the past?” Yes, as my sister said, this could apply to half the population, but I truly believe that our paths were meant to cross and she was there to tell me something. AND! It really doesn’t matter if it is a fact, it’s what I believe and what she believes that makes it true. Before we parted our separate ways, we hugged in the middle of Walmart and promised to keep in touch. 

Anyway, I just thought that was an interesting story of fate, kismet, destiny, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe God was telling me that I have something good to look forward to, and not to dwell on on my past and my pain. I’ve been trying to do that, but a little shove in the right direction is always helpful.

There are many paths and many people to meet along the way. I hope I get a chance to spend more time with and get to know Miss Rose-Marie.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Cookin’

18 Sep

Pursue your passion and live your best life.” ― Lailah Gifty Akit

**************

I’ve mentioned before that I have a Master’s Degree in Procrastination. It took me over six decades to achieve such a goal, but needless to say, I put it off many times. All kidding aside, I’ve been wanting to paint some wine glasses for a couple of months, but always had an excuse not to start. I need a five or six hour window to sit and paint focused and undisturbed.

Painting on glass is one of my passions. It is immediate gratification. Everyone loves the final product. What’s not to like? Wine glasses and vases are beautiful and utilitarian, making perfect gifts and decorative displays.

Once I decided to start, I set up all my supplies, turned on the tv upstairs, half-watched-listened to five or six episodes of “Murder She Wrote,” and painted until I finished painting a dozen long stemmed wine glasses.


I let them dry/cure at least twenty-four hours, then bake in a cold oven at 350 for 30 minutes, leaving undisturbed for at least four hours.


They turned out great, if I don’t say so myself…and I do.

I also gave a second coat to one of my favorite winter vases.


I am very blessed to be able to do what I love. I love making beautiful things, teaching others to make beautiful things, and I’ve made a beautiful life for myself. I also like to think that I’ll leave the world a little bit more beautiful than I found it.

Friday:) Friendly Skies, a Feather and a Penny

17 Sep

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

******************

I walked this morning for about an hour and a half. It was hot and muggy, but walking is always my thinking time. While I was striding along, I saw a young woman on the other side of the road. I crossed the street, introduced myself, and started chatting. She didn’t live in the neighborhood, but was just walking while her daughter was at a dance lesson. With no particular agenda, I just walked her direction, so we walked down some streets I normally don’t travel. That’s when I found a lucky penny in the street. I haven’t found one in a while. “The road less traveled.”


Later, when I had lunch with my friend Diane, we walked out the door, and there on the sidewalk by my feet, was lucky feather.


When I got home, I was exhausted. I was up till almost 3 a.m. after painting a dozen wine glasses all night. I decided to take a leisurely lap around 4. When I woke up, it was already 6:45 and it would be getting dark soon. I almost talked myself out of my evening walk, but I really love to capture the evening skies and the sunset on my walks. Every evening is a work of art. I scrambled, put on my gym shoes, and ran out the door. Well worth the effor. THE FRIENDLY SKIES.


These are all from my one hour walk. The grand finale was the Harvest Moon in the night sky.



Now, you can see why I love my evening walks and THE FRIENDLY SKIES.

Theme Song Thursday:) These are a Few of My Favorite Things

15 Sep

The things that I do

The things that I see 

The people I love 

The world around me

I feel with my soul

I see with my heart

Sharing my blessings 

Till death do us part

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

*********************

There’s always something to be thankful for, and here are a few of my favorite things: Beautiful fluffy white clouds, friends, family, art, music, a glorious sunset, the quiet peace of a church, or meeting a stranger. Every day holds magical possibilities. If not… There’s always chocolate ice cream and Black Russians on Friday.



Out of my 1,973 photos in my current photo album on my iPad to choose from, these are just a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

14 Sep

“The best medicine for an ailing friend is a warm hug, food made with love, and a very short visit.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

*********************

My good friend Lynda had surgery a few days ago and is recovering. It must be very frustrating not to be able to move around and take care of yourself. Thank goodness she has wonderful family support and many close friends. A few girlfriends offered to bring by some meals for her on certain days. I’m more of an abstract, unconventional kind of person, so I offered to make a few things that could be popped in the freezer or fridge and used in a pinch.

I figured most people would be bringing dinners, so besides making several containers of pasta, I thought some fruit yogurt parfaits would be good for a fast breakfast or snack. Turns out, Lynda said that was one of her favorites and she was craving fruit. Yay! Perfect!

I started cooking late Monday. Actually it was early Tuesday, around 1 a.m. Before I finished. 

I love to cook, and I never learned to cook small, so this was the perfect opportunity to get carried away. Pasta freezes and reheats well.


For the yogurt parfaits, I used plain Greek yogurt and added a little pure honey. I read the ingredients on the label of the yogurt with honey, and it had pure cane sugar, fructose, and honey and other stuff. I’d rather use just plain old honey. Then, I cut up some grapes and strawberries, layering the ingredients in three tall plastic cups.(Forgot to take a picture of the final product.) 

I dropped of the food yesterday before I went to my St. Gabriel’s Women’s Club meeting. I brought a warm hug, some food made with love, and stayed just for a very short visit. She looks good and in good spirits.

Lynda texted me this morning to thank me for the pasta and parfaits. She even sent me a picture of her enjoying her breakfast. Gee, I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it with a few hundred of my best closest personal friends on the Internet? 


She is just too cute not to share. Feel better. Love you!

Tuesday:) Torn Between the Two

14 Sep

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. …live in the question.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke

****************

 A lazy morning. I didn’t go to Zumba because I’ve had a crink in my neck for days, and didn’t want to mess it up more. I did go for a long walk in the steamy hot morning. 

My big decision for the day was…do I want to go to McKinney Creative Community potluck tonight or go to St. Gabriel’s Women’s Club meeting. They always meet on the same evening, the second Tuesday of the month. I usually opt for MCC, but this was the first women’s club meeting for the year at church. I was thinking that maybe it would be a good opportunity to meet some new people and make new friends. I was torn.

I’ve been in a avant-garde sort of mood of late, so I chose church. Something different.

Then, to add frosting to the proverbial unconventional cupcake, I decided to go get a haircut before the meeting. The girl at Style America did a great job. She took her time and I went straight to church with damp curly hair. Well, it was so hot out, it didn’t stay damp too long.

The first meeting at St. Gabriel’s was pizza, salad and cannoli night. I hadn’t been to a meeting since last year’s Christmas party. I remember because I won the door prize. So, when the raffle tickets were handed out, I barely glanced at my number 927. When the number was called…really? 927! I couldn’t believe it. Out of around 50 women, my number was picked.

When I went to get my prize, I said, “I should come more often. I always win the door prize.” I’m a lucky girl.

Cute flower arrangement, new haircut, nice meeting at church, and I met some new ladies.


As is my tradition, on my way out, I walked into the church, blessed myself with holy water and said a prayer. A prayer for health and happiness for my family and friends. Then, I walked over to light a candle under the painting of St. Joseph the carpenter and his young apprentice, Jesus. A candle for my future granddaughter. 


It’s OK to be torn between two choices now and then. There’s no right or wrong, just a different door to open.


I think you can do both Mr. E.B. White.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

12 Sep

“Just think about one good thing that happened to you today. Write it down. Say it out loud. Share it with others. Now, it’s a really good day.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

*********************

I’m having a good day. I went for a walk, had lunch with Zelda at Olive Garden, then we went to see the movie “Sully.” All were good. So, I’ve written this down, said it out loud, and now sharing with you. Now, it’s a really good day.

Between baking cookies and brownies for my firemen friends, lunches, movies, doggie sitting, and many walks, I get to take amazing pictures of gorgeous sunsets and beautiful friends. I think the built-in camera in phones is the greatest invention since…well… maybe since penicillin. Well, that’s not good, I’m allergic. Maybe, since chocolate. Yah! That’s a good one.

A week in a peek.


Sunday Sermon and Remembering 9/11

11 Sep

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

~ President Barack Obama  2011 radio address.

********************

A cool morning, finally, here in McKinney. While greeting before Mass, I noticed the normal scamper to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning, was replaced by leisurely strolls into church.

The Gospel today was the famous prodigal son sermon. One son demands his inheritance from his father and squanders it away, while the other son remains and works hard. The prodigal son returns impoverished and repentant. The father welcomes him, rejoices and prepares a feast. The faithful son is jealous.

My take on it…God’s love or a parent’s love is unconditional. The return back to the fold of a lost child, repentant and grateful, is worth celebrating. But, on the other hand, the faithful, hardworking son is not loved less and should not be jealous, he should rejoice too, because the Father has his family together. There is enough love to go around.

Gospel Luke 15

My son, you are here with me always;

everything I have is yours. 

But now we must celebrate and rejoice,

because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

he was lost and has been found.

*************************

9/11 is always a sad day. So many lives lost, so much heartache and senseless loss. Fifteen years later, the memory is still fresh in many hearts. There are always tributes and commemorative ceremonies. 

I remember going to the tenth anniversary ceremony in McKinney in 2011, with tears streaming down my face, I took pictures to share the day.


As is my personal tradition, I did my baking marathon and dropped off fresh out of the oven cookies and brownies to three neighboring fire stations.


This is an oldie but a goodie brownie funny face.


The house smelled of chocolate and oatmeal and yummy cookie goodness.


I delivered my treats last night while the cookies and brownies were still warm right out of the oven. I always love the smile on the young firefighter’s faces, especially when they say, “These are still warm!” I knew today, 9/11, many of the stations would be at ceremonies, so last night was a better day to deliver and say thank you. I shook each hand and knew that each of these brave firefighters would be willing to sacrifice their life for mine. There is no greater gift than that.



My old friends at Station 5. The counter was empty. I guess I was the first to drop off a thank you tray of goodies last night. I hope that today, all 8 fire stations have counters filled with offerings of gratitude from residents, neighbors and friends. If you didn’t get out there today, any day is a good day to say “Thank you.”


A couple of the guys at Station 2. Big smiles.


Station 1, right off the square, also houses a neat fire engine museum with memorabilia, photos and historical records.


No, NEVER FORGET!

Saturday:) Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Summer

10 Sep

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. The odors of fruits waft me to my southern home, to my childhood frolics in the peach orchard. Other odors, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away.” ― Helen Keller

***********

As I write this, my kitchen is filled with the delightful smell of cooling brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut putter cookies. I will report on their dispersement tomorrow, but for today, I revel in the aroma.

Saturdays are usually a quiet lonely time for me, but not today. I have the company of my furry friend, Bella. My neighbor Diane and I walked dogs this morning, then went to lunch at Chili’s. I am so stuffed, I have had no desire to even sample the cookies that will find their way to my local fire stations.

Then, to put frosting on the proverbial cake, my neighbor across the street texted, asking if I wanted to go to dinner and or a movie tonight. I suggested we run down to the Square for Second Saturday, and enjoy the live music at Sweet Spot Bakery and stroll around, checking out the night life. 

So, what is normally a quiet boring Saturday is turning into a shuffle bustle “do the hustle” kinda day. I love it.

Sights and sounds (clouds floating by, ducks quacking in the pond)


Let’s not forget tastes and smells (lunch)


Ah…now the smells…(with a goofy brownie face)