Archive | July, 2017

Sunday Sermon and Sustenance for the Soul 

31 Jul

“The soul is imbued with a yearning that is carried, like a torch, from incarnation to incarnation. It burns with a curiosity about life and it’s true identity. Souls live, strive, and evolve, driven to seeking the truth about the world and themselves.” 

― Stefan Emunds

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My two day CRHP retreat at St. Gabriel’s this weekend was nothing less than extraordinary. Did I learn anything new about myself during this wonderful experience? No, not really. I already know myself. (The good, the bad, and the ugly.) But, what I did learn was how I, Toni, can become a better me. How I can learn to see the world and other people through different eyes. I learned how total strangers can embrace you and love you, making you feel like a very important person. We are all children of God. He thinks we’re all special. We should do the same.

The common denominator here is faith. This happened to be a Catholic retreat, but I believe that faith, trust in God, no matter what you call Him or where you worship, is the glue or the foundation. A faith that can build a strong soul or heal a heavy heart. 

This morning, we all got up early and attended 7a.m. Mass. Getting over forty women up, dressed, and ready all before 7 is a miracle in itself. But, it happened.

The Gospel for today was about the kingdom of heaven. A person finds a treasure in the field, or the merchant in search of the perfect pearl. They give up or sell everything to obtain it. 

My take on it…once you’ve found something special, that wonderful treasure, don’t let go. Do everything you can to hold on to it. Hold on to your faith, your family, your friends. Those are the treasures on earth, and will also lead to the kingdom of heaven. 

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Gospel MT 13:44-52Jesus said to his disciples:”The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field…..

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All my wonderful experiences of my CRHP retreat are too many to share, but also, it’s kinda like Vegas. What happens at CRHP stays at CRHP. That’s so all the people who haven’t attended yet will have the same great surprises and life changing experiences. 

I made some beautiful new friends this weekend, and I know these new “sisters” will be a part of my life for a long time.


Saturday:) Some Spectacular Sunsets

29 Jul

“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.” ― John Steinbeck

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It’s just past midnight, so it’s officially Saturday. I decided to write my Saturday post early. I won’t be able to write it later. I’m sitting on the sofa, my iPad on my lap, and my Black Russian by my side. In just a few hours, I’ll be going to my first CHRP Women’s Retreat at St. Gabriel’s. CHRP stands for Christ Renews His Parish. The CRHP retreat is an opportunity to rediscover, renew, revitalize or intensify your faith in Christ. It is also a time of prayer, reflection and fellowship with fellow parishioners from the St. Gabriel’s community. 

Instructions for the two day retreat are, no cell phones, iPads, books, or electronic devices. Leave your wallet and valuables at home, and get a ride to church. All meals will be provided. It’s kind of exciting and mysterious. I’m venturing out of my normal comfort zone. I don’t do unknown or change very well. Here I go. It will be great.

Here’s what I’d like to share today, because heaven forbid, I should miss a day writimg my blog. I don’t want to break my streak.

 I’m a big fan of the glorious Texas sunsets. Almost every evening, I scramble out the door for my walk and a chance to capture the sunset, my favorite time of day. 


Just a few of my favorites.

Friday:) Friends, Clouds, and Finding Lucky Pennies

29 Jul

“Here’s the thing about luck…you don’t know if it’s good or bad until you have some perspective.” 

― Alice Hoffman

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I have a pretty positive perspective on luck. My luck has been good…yep, mostly good luck. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some pretty awful dark days, that’s why I can appreciate my life and the good days. I have been blessed.

After a steamy morning walk, I hurried home, showered and headed off to the square, we were celebrating Karen’s birthday. Four friends sharing a meal, and fine stories.


After lunch, I visited my friends at the Last Gallery, Orison’s, Sweet Spot Bakery, and the Art Studio. Lots of little Stop’s and visits. McKinney is such a great town with he greatest people. 

When I went for my evening walk, I found two lucky pennies and a few potentially dangerous nails in the road. Some new construction means more flat tires. Lucky pennies for me, finding nails, lucky for the folks who might have gotten one in their tire.  I like to think I’m saving my neighbors from danger. (Where’s my cape?)


The thing about all the houses going up as far as the eye can see is, sometimes the eye can’t see the beautiful clouds and skies. But, I still try and capture the moment when I can.


Yep! It was pretty hot out today!!!


At 6 p.m. It felt like 108. And when you’re walking at a pretty fast clip, it feels a lot hotter than that,

Thursday:) Thieves, Impostors and a Theme Song

28 Jul

Stealing is stealing. I don’t care if it’s on the Internet or you’re breaking into a warehouse somewhere – it’s theft. ~Patrick Leahy

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Yesterday, my friend Becky, informed me that someone on Facebook was using my name. She sent me the link, and low and behold, this imposter is pretending to be ME. There is no excuse for that, and there is absolutely NO OTHER Toni Armenta Andrukaitis in the whole wide world. Someone named Toni, whose maiden name was Armenta would have had to marry an Andrukaitis. That is impossible. There aren’t that many Andrukaitis’. And,  who would want such a long, impossible last name, or want to marry the jerk I was married to. 

Here is the imposter… So, if you get another friend request from me, DO NOT ACCEPT.


LOOKS LIKE SHE IS THE CO-CREATOR OF MY LIFE, NOT HER OWN. 
I’m pretty sure that I was hacked because I have quite a few Facebook friends and hundreds of followers on my WordPress blog.

I researched how to notify Facebook about an impostor using my name, and received an immediate response that they would look into it. Here was their response…

On Thursday, July 27, 2017, 5:29 AM, Facebook <case++aazqy3gctgtcgl@support.facebook.com> wrote:

Hi Toni,
Thanks for letting us know about something you think may go against our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. 
In this case, we reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards.

  Note: If you see something on someone’s profile that shouldn’t be on Facebook, be sure to report the content (ex: a photo or video), not the entire profile. This will help us review your report more accurately.

    For more information about our policies, please read the Facebook Community Standards:

    https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards

    Thanks,

The Facebook Team

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So, basically, Facebook is telling me that anyone can use my very unique personal name as long as they don’t post an offensive video or photos. I guess I can say I am Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the queen of England and start my own page. Doesn’t sound right, does it.

Long and short, be careful out there folks, and let me know if this impostor tries to contact you. I’m the real brownie baking, Black Russian guzzling, artist/writer, and karaoke singing McKinney maven.


Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

27 Jul

“When you stop playing with your food, you stop enjoying life.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I made some brownies this afternoon. And yes, I had to make a funny face before I started mixing and fixing. After all these many years, I often think, “No, you don’t need to make a face in the brownies.” Then, my creative brain says, “Ah, common. It”ll be fun.”


The brownies were yummy, and I shared them with Lynard, my landscaping guy, my church group, and a few neighbors.


Oh, and here’s an example of how I place fresh white bread pieces to keep them fresh a few more days. I’ll cover with foil and they’ll be perfectly moist. Actually, they’ll be gone by tomorrow evening. 

Another thing I’m very good at making is mold and dehydrated citrus fruit. Can anyone say…penicillin?


It’s called cleaning out the fridge and making scary discoveries. 

Tuesday:) Toni’s Top Tips for Today

26 Jul

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.” ― Oscar Wilde

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I had lunch with my friend Mary today. I told her that I was going to the Women’s CHRP Retreat  at church this weekend. She said that she baked some brownies for the event, and was hoping they would stay fresh. I asked her if I ever told her my tip for keeping brownies, cupcakes, cookies, etc. moist and fresh tasting for days. She was impressed, so I shared some of my other tips. I’ll share with you too.

If you don’t have an infuser for flavoring water, you can use a whisk. When I cut up a mango, I save the pit and skin and either put it in a whisk or straight in a tall glass, add water and refrigerate. It’s a two-for-one. You get to eat the mango or fruit, and enjoy the water. Result, tasty flavored water. Keep refilling with water.


With the brownies and cookies, get a slice of soft bread, tear or cut up and place in the four corners of your baked goods, maybe one or two pieces in the middle, then cover with foil or its lid. Baked goods stay fresh and moist for a couple of days. Even add fresh bread pieces and throw out dried ones for a couple more days. Works every time. No more dried up frosting or dry brownies. Trust me…I have lots of experience.


My facvorite tip is the acupressure pinch for leg cramps. I learned this one when I took Lamaze classes way back in the 80’s. You take your index finger and place on that little grove above your lip, then place your thumb inside the lip and squeeze and press fingers together as hard as possible. Keep pinching until you feel the cramp disappear. It may take a few seconds, but it works. Believe me, I’ve used this one a zillion times. (Looks goofy, but who cares when you are in pain.)


Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

25 Jul

“Writing is the painting of the voice.”

~ Voltaire

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Another good week. Another steamy, muggy, stifling, hotter than H-E-Double hockey sticks kinda week. Still a good week with sunsets, artists, friends, baby pictures, and let’s not forget the famous Friday Black Russians. 

A week in a peek.