Archive | October, 2017

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

31 Oct

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.

~William Makepeace


Another week that snuck up out of nowhere and slid away just as fast. Friends, travel, getting lost, getting found, old friends, new friends, sunrise, sunset, and my beautiful baby Belle.

A peek into my week…

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

30 Oct

“When you’re kind to people, and you pay attention, you make a field of comfort around them, and you get it back–the Golden Rule meets the Law of Karma meets Murphy’s Law.” 

― Anne Lamott


A chilly Sunday morning. My friend Mary, who greets with me at the door at St. Gabriel’s was out of town. I greeted and received and doled out hugs all by myself for a while. Then, I saw David and his family walk in. David had greeted with us before and said he enjoyed it. I asked him if he’d like to join me today. He said that he had been out of town all week and he really needed to go in early and pray. I said, “Sure, maybe next time.”

Five minutes later, David walked back out, opened and manned the other door, saying good morning to the incoming people. I asked, “Did you change your mind?” He laughed and said, “I prayed about it and here I am.” A minute later, his young son nuzzled up next to him, and I asked his name. The young man said, “Eli.”

Wow! That was special. I told him that Eli was my father’s name and that was a very fine name. Elijah, yes, a very fine name.

Today’s Gospel was about Jesus being asked which commandment was the greatest…

Gospel MT 22:34-40When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
My take on it… there are only two commandments or laws necessary. You love God and you love your neighbor. This covers it all. The other eight commandments are just examples, or clarification. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, curse, kill, etc.  Voila! That’s it.

After Mass, I stopped at McDonald’s for coffee/tea with Mr. Jerry. The McD had been closed for remodeling for over a month and was now open, and guess what?  Yuk! I didn’t like the decor, very ultra modern with a side order of tacky. The wallpaper and seating were bizarre, and don’t get me started on the new beverage dispenser. It was one of those swipe the little symbol for Coke or Sprite or Lemonade. I HATE CHANGE! But, life goes on, even at McDonald’s. 

Mr. Jerry and I talked about an hour, sharing iPhone pictures of grandkids and stories and gossip. On my way out, I stopped to get a refill on my iced tea when I noticed a familiar face. Around four or five months ago, I met a lady sitting alone at this McDonald’s and we talked a long time, vowing to keep in touch, but never did. I gave her my card, and I think she lost it. It had been so long, that we forgot names.

This is Lynn. How could I forget that? I remember telling her when we first met that half of my friends are named Lynn. Well, at least twenty or thirty. This time I asked her for her info and  Facebook name so I could friend her. Done! 

“Do unto others.” It was funny, Lynn said that she has always been quite the introvert and pretty shy. But, she said that she has talked to a few strangers these past few months and credited my kindness to her new found boldness. I was honored. 

Saturday on the Square, and Some Other Stuff

29 Oct

“When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” ― Shannon L. Alder


It started out being a slow sleepy Saturday. But, once I got moving, it was a super fun day of shopping, sales, friends, art, and spooky stuff.

I began with a trip to one of my favorite places, Michael’s Craft Store. I had a 60% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I bought glitter. (Of course you did, you’re saying to yourself.) I also bought a cart load of other things on sale. 

My next stop was Winco. I haven’t been there in ages, but I got an add in the mail and decided to check it out. Oh my…too many good sales. Gala apples only 68 cents a  pound! Crazy! Brownie mix 88 cents! Be still, my heart. I even bought a bunch of canned goods for the little local free food pantry. Another cart load of items to squeeze into my car.

I haven’t roamed around the Square for a while, so I drifted off in that direction. It was a little chilly, so it wasn’t too crowded and I easily found a parking spot in one of the lots. 

My first stop was Sweet Spot Bakery. I tapped by the back door, and Miss Kathy unlatched the screen door saying, “Back door friends are the best.” I was shocked because she was decorating cookies. She always says she’d rather leave all that to Elizabeth, the baker, but she was doing a pretty good job. We chatted a while and caught up on the latest. Tonight was the Ghost Tour, so they were staying open late. 

As I worked my way down the street, I heard a familiar voice calling me from a distance. Yay! My friend Sherri! She was selling tickets and organizing volunteers for the Ghost Tour. Always good to see Miss Sherri.

We walked around and listened to some of the volunteers dressed in old time costumes, talking about local ghost sitings and stories.

Elizabeth and Kathy over at Sweet Spot were also on the Ghost Tour. Their shop has been frequented by a very determined female ghost who likes to rearrange furniture and throw things around occasionally. They just ignore her and go about their business.
Governor Throckmorton was pointing one way, but I was going the other way. Still directionally challenged. Plus, I don’t take orders well. I’m so confused.

It was getting late and dark and I still hadn’t eaten anything all day, but I wanted to stop at The Cove Art Gallery to see my friend, Leslee Ortega’s art show. I also bumped into a few other artist friends.

Leslee paints the cutest animal portraits, and also teaches classes on painting your own pet. They are colorful and funky and fun, kinda like Leslee.

It was a very fun-filled Saturday. I drove home, put away my groceries and finally got around to fixing a frozen pizza for dinner. Well, I actually took the time to bake it. I didn’t eat it frozen, although tempted. Yep! A good day!

Friday:) Finding My Way Along The Way

28 Oct

“You don’t have to know where you’re going to get exactly where you need to go.” ― Marilyn A. Hepburn


A glowing glorious sunrise can put things into perspective. Not only will the sun rise and set every day, but it will put on a spectacular magic light show in the sky if you take a minute to notice. Life goes on with us or without us. I say, “Buckle up and enjoy the ride.”

I’m a creature of habit, so I find myself walking along the same route every day. The nearby pond, ducks waddling along in the water, and the sky putting on a show, these are the sights and sounds that keep me grounded. I walk and I think. I sing and I pray. This is how I find my way.

And speaking of grounded, I always seem to stumble upon, literally, interesting items on the ground or on the street. This morning, while enjoying the sunrise, I saved someone from a flat tire and was generously rewarded with two lucky pennies. I’m rich, in every sense of the word.

I may get lost sometimes, but I’m always “finding my way along the way.”

Theme Song Thursday:) Come To My Window

27 Oct

“The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.”

~Jules Renard


I’ve never owned a cat, but I think they’re cute. Crazy and cute. Then again, I think elephants are cute, but I don’t think I’d like to own one. Both creatures are difficult to understand and domesticate. They have minds of their own. Many of my friends have cats, and they all like me and rub up against me and purr in my face. I’m not sure why. Maybe they’re just trying to mess with me because it makes me nervous.

This morning while I was out for my morning walk, Miss Kathy’s cat was sitting on the tiniest brick ledge by her back window. He just sat there ever so patiently and stared right back at me. I thought for sure he would fall off or tip over. But, cats have nine lives, so I guess Mo wasn’t too worried about falling to his furry death. I had to take his picture.

I couldn’t help but think that poor old Mo just wanted to go inside, get something to eat, or maybe take a little cat nap. I can relate.

Do you ever feel like that? Just sitting patiently outside the window, looking in. Waiting. Hoping you don’t fall.

Wednesday:) Where In The World Was Miss Toni? 

25 Oct

” Every time I travel, it’s an unbelievable adventure. That’s because I have no idea where the heck I am half the time. Unbelievable!” 

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” 

― C. JoyBell C.


Yesterday, I told you about talking to a stranger at McDonald’s on my way home from Stillwater. And as promised, here’s my story about getting lost after that.

I really was proud of myself. I left Stillwater around 9:45 am, turned left at the second busy street, stopped for gas at the station just down the road from St. Francis Catholic Church on the right. (I need visual landmarks) I remembered that the I35 exit was the second one, as I needed to go south to Texas, not north to Canada, or what ever’s up there. I say that in my head…Texas south, Canada north. Traffic was fast and steady, and I tried to stay behind slower trucks in the right lane, but even they were going 75 or 80 mph. Yikes! I maneuvered through the change in lanes by Oklahoma City, staying in my left and not going to Tulsa. Good girl!

Feeling a bit confident, I decided to take a lunch break at McDonald’s in Marietta. (That’s where I met Tracy, the truck driver from yesterday’s blog,) I think because I took a long break, my time sequence in my head was a little off. Normally, I drive the 4 1/2 hours straight without stopping. So, when I tapped in my map and directions for home on my phone, Siri talked me through the u-turn and getting back onto I35. No problemo.

Zipping along, Siri told me to exit going towards Gainesville. Hmm? I didn’t remember that, but I knew there was a Denton bypass along the way, that had to be it. Right? Siri wouldn’t lie to me, would she? I exited and went down an industrial road that looked like the bypass. Good. About twenty minutes later, I was deep into farm, ranch and agricultural two lane roads. Uh oh! This didn’t look right. I kept driving and Siri kept leading me deeper into nowhere land. I was going to pull over, but there were only gated gravel farm or ranch gates that were closed. I was too nervous about pulling over and getting sideswiped by some sidewinder. (I was in Texas, after all.) 

The good news was, my car compass said I was going south and east. I did know I lived south and east of Oklahoma. The other nice thing was, wow, there was some awfully pretty country roads back there. I crossed a lot of rivers and saw long horns, sheep, goats, fields of cotton, horses, some humongous ranch mansions, and quaint old farm houses and barns. But… lost is lost, and I was lost. I finally pulled over by a rural church to reprogram Siri,  and give her a stern talking too. She didn’t cooperate. Maybe she got mad at me.

My journey continued along long winding FM roads. I navigated over Lake Kiowa, down to Tioga and Pilot Point, and around Aubrey, Siri had me go east towards Celina. On the map, those small roads look pretty straight forward, but I almost got as dizzy as when I went on that crazy ride at the state fair. See the big red line on the left…35? That’s where I was supposed to be until Denton. Now, see all those squiggly grey lines by Gainesville and the blue water. That’s where I zigged and zagged my way through north Texas.

Look folks! Cotton fields, as far as the eye could see. It looked like a blanket of snow along the roads.

Mostly what I saw was a lot of long winding roads going no where with no end in sight. But, I was going south and east. That was good..I think. Finally, Siri said turn on Preston Road. Yay! A familiar name. She led me into the back way past Meyers Park and down to Wilmeth. I never come from that direction, so when I saw the familiar cell tower…Ah, I was home. I could release the death grip from the steering wheel.

Being directionally challenged is not fun. Siri, I will never trust you again! I still have to call on you for help all the time, but I will never trust you again. 

My adventure was maybe only one and a half hours longer than it should have been, but I was rewarded with some lovely back road scenery and a gorgeous sunset.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Talking to Strangers Again 

25 Oct

I love new places, new people, new ideas. I love cultural differences, and I’m fascinated by the truth – all the different versions of it. 

~Martin Henderson


This morning I was driving home from Stillwater Oklahoma. I was very proud of myself because I knew which way to go from Lake View Road, to Country Club Road, down to the gas station that’s past the new Catholic Church, and then onto I35 South. I’m a very visual driver. I shouldn’t say I’m directionally challenged because it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I was tooling down I35 and managed to stay in the left lane when it veered off by Oklahoma City. After about 2 1/2 hours of zooming at speeds up to 75/80, I decided to take a break at the Marietta exit. I remember stopping at the McDonald’s there last year. Now, don’t ask me if I was still in Oklahoma or in Texas, because I don’t know. (Just looked it up…Oklahoma.)  It was a break from the white knuckle driving experience, and a chance for lunch and a pit stop.

When I sat down with my signature chicken sandwich, fries, and Coke, I noticed the man across from me was wearing a Veteran of Gulf War cap.

I always like to shake hands with veterans and thank them for their service. He was sitting alone, checking his phone and eating. I was doing the same. Instead of just going and shaking his hand, I grabbed my tray of food and walked over. That’s when I shook his hand, thanked him for his service, and asked if I could join him. He gestured to sit down with a “Sure, come on and sit down.”

We sat and chatted a good half hour if not more. I told Tracy that I was driving to McKinney from Stillwater, and decided to take a break from the crazy drivers that were zipping past me or on my bumper while I was going 75 or 80 miles an hour. I told him that I try to stay behind a truck in the right lane because they tend to be a little slower and more cautious. 

Well, it turns out that Tracy was a truck driver on his way to Oklahoma City. He said, “You think these drivers are crazy. You should see how they drive in California. They’re nuts.” He lived in. California a number of years, so he knew from experience. Tracy explained that his truck couldn’t go more than 60 miles an hour by design, and that it was a mandatory built in safety feature and insurance liability factor for some companies. I had no idea such a rule existed. Hmm? Did you?  Our conversation stretched all over the map between states and countries where we lived, his military service, family, friends, then the big taboo topic of religion.

I had mentioned that I am Catholic and Tracy said he is a Mormon. I was fascinated and had a zillion questions. Even though you shouldn’t discuss politics or religion, we both agreed that both our churches were based on the same premise of “do unto others,” and the more you share your blessings, the more you are blessed. And, we both agreed that you don’t always have to follow the exact letter of every single rule and doctrine of your faith to be faithful. 

Anyway, we had a nice chat before he needed to get back on the road, as did I. My adventure continued after that, and that will be the continuing saga for tomorrow called…Toni gets lost going home.

This is my new friend Tracy, war veteran and all around nice man. Stay safe on the road, my friend.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

24 Oct

“Everyone needs reminders that the fact of their being on this earth is important and that each life changes everything.”

~Marge Kennedy


A week of memories past and dreams of the future, art and baking, sunsets and traveling, friends, family and silent prayers.

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

23 Oct

“You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing,”

~ Andre Jackson


It was was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning after torrential rain storms here in Stillwater. I attended 10 o’clock  Mass at St. Francis Xavier. It’s a lovely traditional church with all the beautiful stained glass, statues, and altar decor.

The Gospel today was the story of the Pharasees trying to entrap Jesus by asking him if it was lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar. So, instead of incriminating himself, “He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them,”Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Father talked about the monetary taxes and dues we must pay for the earthly things we want, and we have no choice. If we want to have something, we need to pay for it with money. We have to pay our taxes and our bills. The kingdom of heaven is earned by our actions here on earth. But with God, we are given free will, and the choice is ours as to how we live our lives. We aren’t forced to do anything.

My take on it…pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Money is a man-made commodity. We put faces of people on currency. We use it to take care of our earthly tribute, pay our bills, pay taxes, and buy things. We are created in the image of of God, so we should pay tribute to God by following his commandments. 

It was funny, before Mass was over, Father said he wouldn’t be there next Sunday because he was going to visit his sister. He gets invited every fall for a visit and a mandatory Notre Dame game. So after Mass, I shook hands with Father and showed him a picture of my son Joe, wife Lindsay and baby Belle at Notre Dame yesterday. He smiled.

I stopped and lit a candle afterwards in front of the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Saturday:) Sometimes You Have to Follow Your Heart

21 Oct

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” 

― Jalaluddin Rumi


 I have to use my navigation app pretty much anytime I go anywhere more than five miles from home. Did I mention I’m directionally impaired? Yep. So, when Siri guided me through traffic on 380, coerced me through the Denton bypass, and onto I35 north, I relaxed when she said, “Continue on I35 for 212 miles. 

As I got comfortable behind the wheel, turned Siri off, cranked up my CD of Joe’s wedding songs, and cruised along in the slower right lane, I got behind a truck going around 70 mikes an hour (slow for Oklahoma). When I got closer, I smiled and said, “Ah, now I can follow my heart.”

I cruised north following a Hobby Lobby truck. It made me smile, but also reminded me that when I get back home that I need to work on painting my Christmas ornaments. My craft room upstairs would rival a Hobby Lobby warehouse. Thanks Hobby Lobby truck driver for leading the way.