Archive | September, 2017

Tuesday:) Never Stop Learning

20 Sep

“Never stop dreaming, never stop believing,

never give up,

never stop trying, and

never stop learning.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Pretty much every local artist and future artist in the McKinney area has taken a class with Maribeth Jagger. Not only is she an amazing instructor, but she is a funny  talented creative friend. Maribeth hosted a mixed media collage workshop at the Heard Craig Carriage House this morning. It was sooooo much fun. The 2 1/2 hour workshop slithered into a four hour art extravaganza followed by a two hour lunch.

We worked with paints, glazes, inks, stamps, stencils, scrapers and well, everything but the kitchen sink. Wait…I think there was a kitchen sink involved.

A few examples of her work above.

Lynne always comes up with the most spectacular designs.

I didn’t finish mine, but I’ll get to it soon…I hope.

My background below. This was accomplished with many layers of acrylic, scraped around with an old credit card, then some transparent paints, different stencils, and inks.

What I have so far.

After our long lunch, guess where I had to stop?

Oh no, one more art medium to work on. Always learn something new. I’m just a beginner, but I love the journey.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

19 Sep

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~ Henry Davis Thoreau


A week filled with art, artists, friends, family, and fine food. The sunrises and sunsets were glorious. 

A week in a peek… 

Sunday Sermon and a Sunset

17 Sep

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” 

― Will Smith


Another beautiful Sunday morning greeting parishioners at St. Gabriel’s. I actually remembered to wear my name tag today, and more and more people are saying, “Good morning, Toni.” I’ve been learning more names and giving out more hugs and handshakes,too. The new church building is coming along.

Today’s Gospel was another story about forgiveness. ( Is somebody up there trying to tell me something?) Peter asked Jesus about forgiveness. 

Gospel MT 18:21-35

“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.”

When the servant who owed a huge amount of money to the king begged for mercy and not to be sold, along with his wife, family and possessions, he begged… “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.” The king forgave him his debt. Later, that same man came across a fellow servant who owed him a small amount of money, and instead of forgiving the other man’s debt, he had him imprisoned. When the king heard this, he summoned the man and said, “You wicked servant!” And he asked why he couldn’t forgive his fellow servant a small debt after being begged, when he had forgiven his huge debt. The king was angry and had the man tortured.

My take on it…well, first of all, these Gospels lately have been hitting home. I’ve been working on this forgiveness chapter in my life, and I’ll admit, I’m not totally there yet. Here’s my dilemma. In all these verses and Gospel readings, someone is begging for forgiveness. And yes, we are told that God will forgive us anything if we ask Him. But, they ASK! I keep reading quotes and have people telling me that I need forgive,  even when someone doesn’t ask for forgiveness. You do it for yourself. I STILL DON’T GET IT! 

I had this discussion with friends just a few days ago. My philosophy is actions speak louder than words. I don’t have to say the words, “I forgive you,” and I still can go on with my life, without hate or anger, be the best person I can be, and have a good heart. But, unless I am asked to forgive someone or some offense, there’s no point saying the words. If they don’t even think they’ve done anything wrong or have harmed you in any way, there’s no point. It means nothing to them, so it means nothing to me.

If you ask God to forgive you, He will. That’s why He’s God and we’re just human. He knows what’s in your heart. I have asked God for forgiveness and strength, and I believe that has been granted. But, He also will NOT forgive an evil person with an evil heart. They will be punished.  Do you see the point now? You have to sincerely ask? You have to change your ways and change your heart. It’s not a free pass to do what you please.

Okay, now on a brighter note.🎼 After Mass, the Knights of Columbus had free donuts outside at a couple of tables. There was a small donation jar. I walked over, slightly tempted, as I hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday. But, I’m not a huge donut fan, even chocolate. So, I just put a dollar in the jar and said, “I’m saving the calories. Thanks for all you do.” Then, off I went to Sprouts.

Did I mention I was hungry? Uh oh! Sprouts had dark chocolate covered almonds on sale for ONLY $2.99 a pound. My downfall! That’s insane! I’m insane! I bought many pounds. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many. I’m glad I passed on the donuts.

But, before you judge me too harshly, I did buy some apples, peaches, green peppers, tomatoes, and blackberries. It looks like a lot, but I like to share with my friend, Miss Eleanor. She can’t get out to the store much.

It’s been a good Sunday. I’m going to post this and go out for a nice long walk. It’s still kinda hot out there, so I may have to stop for a beer if Mr. Larry’s garage is open. 

Here’s my sunset from last night…

Saturday:) Somos Familia~ Hispanic Heritage Day Festival

16 Sep

“The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you – black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.”

~ Maya Angelou


I like to think that we are all related in one way or another. People are people. Why do we have to judge or comment about heritage. I think we should be proud and celebrate our heritage, but we’re Americans. Right? We can celebrate both, all, and celebrate each other.

There have been many times that I’ve seen people’s mouths drop open when I say that I’m Mexican-American. They look at me and say, “NO WAY!” There were a few times when acquaintances or neighbors would make comments about Mexicans that weren’t always that complimentary, and I would just say with a smile, “I’m Mexican!” Well, the room would get very quiet and I would ask, “And you were saying?” Either nothing was added or they’d say, “Well, not you, Toni.” I just laugh, but hopefully they will think differently or think twice.

Today, there was a festival at the John and Judy Gay Public Library, celebrating  Hispanic Heritage Day, was hosted by McKinney Hispanic Chamber of Commerce  and Tri-County Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The festival celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The parking lot was packed and I ended up climbing up the curb and parking on the grass along with many others. The first person I ran into was my good friend, Gilda Garza. She was on the city council for a number of years, and has been and will always be very active in the community. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the great weather, fine music, and yummy food. And it wouldn’t be a McKinney event without bumping into my friend Sara Thomas.

Sara, Gilda, and moi. (Oh, and there’s the police chief doing a photo bomb in the left hand corner, right under Miss Sara’s ear. ) I should have had my sunglasses on. We could have been the Blues Sisters.

There were Folklorico Dancers and mariachis, and other dance and school groups performing.

Mayor George Fuller declared today McKinney Hispanic Heritage Day, presenting the certificate to the Gonzales family.  They have made many contributions to the city of McKinney for decades, as teachers, nurses, business men, and activists in the community, and they have been a part of what makes our city one of the best places to live in the country.

St. Gabriel’s Knights of Columbus served hot dogs and spicy fries. I saw a few familiar faces from 9 o’clock Mass.

There were vendors, realtors, insurance angencies, free blood pressure screenings, and raffle drawings. Several beautiful children’s bikes were given away as prizes for the coloring contest. Not that many children entered, so the chances of winning a bike were pretty darn good today.

Officers Guerrero and Guzman were at hand to answer questions and greet people. Oh, not only do they serve and protect, I needed to ask an officer to open my stubborn water bottle for me. That’s part of the “serve” in the motto, I guess.

It was a fine day with friends and a fine festival to celebrate heritage…mine, yours, ours.


Friday:) Follow Your Heart

16 Sep

“Believe in Your HeartBelieve in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.” 
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Those of you who know me already know that I see the world with a different eye. Actually, both eyes are pretty weird. I see angels in the clouds and faces in the brownie mix. 

Because I walk everyday, usually twice a day, I have the opportunity to constantly see my world   and my neighborhood with my weird and whacky eyes. My head is always in the clouds and my eyes on the sidewalk and street. (So I don’t trip over my own feet.) 

Lately, I’ve been noticing heart ❤️ shapes on the sidewalk, probably air bubbles in the concrete. Then, I see heart shapes in oil spots or melted tar or clumps of mud. Weird right? Can’t help it.

Here are just a few of the shapes I saw just today on my walk. I follow my heart…

Thursday:) THE Art Club of McKinney

14 Sep

The artists who work with alcohol ink

Are so creative, and more than you’d think

They splash and they splatter yellows and pink

Having such fun, without taking a drink.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


The Art Club of McKinney had their monthly meeting this morning at the Heard Craig Carriage house. Maribeth Jagger was our featured artist. She demonstrated the magic techniques, tips, and tricks to working with alcohol inks. I’d have to say the majority of the people at the meeting have already taken a class or workshop with Maribeth, and those who haven’t will be signing up for her next class. It’s so much fun!

After a checklist of supplies and materials needed, she walked us through several steps of creating this beautiful fall pumpkin scene, from sketch to various techniques and steps.

The At Club of McKinney is a wonderful group of people who are with fine artists in their own right, or who want to learn more about art, or just plain ol’ appreciate art. 

And then…there’s always lunch with new friends and old friends afterwards.

Wednesday:) What Do You See?

14 Sep

“Brushing the clouds away from my eyes, I see clarity in the raindrop and beauty in the first ray of morning sun…

Life is strange and wondrous…” 

― Virginia Alison


I’ll admit that my head is always in the clouds, and I always see wondrous shapes and figures when I look up. This morning, I saw a beautiful woman, perhaps an angel,  in the clouds. Can you see it? Around the center is the small face, the profile shows the eye, nose, mouth, chin, with a flowing gown draped around her. The wings are off to the left.

What do you see?

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Tip of the Day

13 Sep

“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.” ― Linda Henley


I’m not the world’s greatest baker or cook, but perhaps one of the most prolific. I just love to create things in the kitchen, and mass quantities of the stuff. I may start out with a basic box or mix or recipe, but then I mess around with it until I’ve created a masterpiece. Must be the artist in me. The kitchen is my second art studio.

Today, I’m going to share the secret to my triple lemony mini cupcakes. (Don’t tell anyone…it’s a secret.) But, I did have over a dozen people tell me how delicious they were and asked for the recipe. Recipe? “We don’t need no stinkin’ recipe!”

I start out with two boxes of lemon cake mix and a can of lemon frosting.(Doctored up later) What kind you ask? A special kind. It has to be on sale. Never pay full price for cake or brownie mixes! The same goes for frosting mix, on the rare occasion I use canned. The way I go through them, it would cost me a fortune.

I make the mix as per directions using my harvest gold Hamilton Beach hand mixer my mother bought me in 1975 for a wedding gift. The mixer still works great, never disappoints, and has been my constant companion. Can’t say the same for the husband. (A little divorce humor,) 

Oh, I forgot! The first thing I do is make a funny face with the mix. This one is an artist, in honor of my friend, Annie Royer. I was making some cupcakes for her Gallery reception at the Martin Place last Saturday. Also, I wanted to take some to my fire stations for 9/11.

When you do as much baking as I do, it’s wise to invest in some humongous cupcake pans. I have several. This one holds 4 dozen minis. I have three. 

I line the pans with the mini paper cup liners, then scoop about a tablespoon of lemon cake batter. Then, I place a slice of marshmallow, as you see in the first photo. I ran out of minis, so I took a large marshmallow and cut in thirds with scissors, actually works better because they are perfectly round and sit on top nicely. Push it down a little because they puff up when baking. I place a tiny, maybe 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pudding on top of that. (I bought pre-made pudding because the dry mix was $1.29 a box and I’d have to buy milk too. This 4 pack was on sale for 99 cents. Yay!) 

Because these are minis, you have to watch them carefully, they bake fast. How long? Before they burn! Been there…done that. While the first batch cools, I toss in another couple of pans. Two boxes of mix makes well over 140 cupcakes. Really!

I’m not a huge fan of canned frosting, but I had bought some….because….they were on sale! But, I did make some homemade cream cheese frosting to add to the canned. I added a little lemon juice instead of milk to the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar, (no vanilla) then combined both. I frosted a swirl on top of each with the pastry bag my sister JoAnn bought me as a gift from the Dollar Store. (She knows me well.) Yummy!

Well, that’s the secret recipe. The biggest part of the recipe is sharing with as many people as possible. I had enough for Miss Annie’s reception, two fire stations, a few neighbors, and of course, several that I needed to sample for “quality control.”

Monday:) Memories and Traditions of 9-11

11 Sep

“September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for.”

 — Lamar Alexander


Sixteen years later, all those who lived through that awful day, will remember the pain, the anguish, and the prayers. There are ceremonies and memorials, but the greatest tribute to all those who lost their lives and the brave responders whether civil servants or cilivilian, is the silent reverence that we hold in our hearts. 

My tradition has always been to thank my local Fire Station with some home baked goodies for 9-11. I stop by at all different and random times of the year because 9-11 is just one day on the calendar. These firefighters would sacrifice their lives any day of the year for us.

It’s always a pleasure to see the smiling faces of my local firefighters. It’s good to feel appreciated. 

Thank you McKinney FD.

Sunday Sermon and Happy Grandparents Day

11 Sep

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. 

~Pam Brown


It was a gorgeous Sunday morning. It was only in the 60’s and I put on a sweater. Yes! A sweater, yay! As I pulled into the parking lot at St. Gabriel’s, there above the tree tops was a hot air balloon floating across the crisp blue sky. Cool!

Oh my goodness, the Gospel today was soooo relevant to my week. I couldn’t believe the correlation. I had my conversation, explained my feelings, and extended an olive branch, and if he refuses to listen…”Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Gospel MT 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

My take on it… you can try your best to reconcile with someone, but you can’t force them listen or to change. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”

Now, for the wonders of being a grandparent. Today is GRANDPARENTS DAY.

My son Joe and Lindsay called me today and they put Baby Belle on FaceTime. I was so excited to see my adorable 9 month old granddaughter. She’s still trying to figure out that the tiny face on the phone is Grandma. I got to hear her giggle and gurgle and see her beautiful face. What did we do before FaceTime? I love being a grandma!

Isn’t she adorable! Love you, Baby Belle!