Archive | November, 2018

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek-a-Boo

20 Nov

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”

― Charlotte Bronte

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Gosh, I never really thought about it quite that way. Happiness unshared has no taste. How can you truly be happy if you don’t share your joy with others. Are you really happy? It’s like “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a noise?”

I think that’s why I like to share my mundane silky stories every day, It makes me happy to tell you what silly things I’ve done or what wonderful people I’ve met or who I’ve taken brownies to. I like to show you my artwork or what I’ve been cooking. The things I do make me happy, but when I talk about it and write about it, it multiplies my joy tenfold. Especially when I receive nice comments or people share their experiences with me.

Here’s a week in a Peek-a-boo… a lppicture of my grand-daughter playing Peek-a-boo is always fun to share.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

19 Nov

“It was a dark and cold and gloomy morning. But, I had my sock monkey hat to keep me warm.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was a dark and stormy night” is an often-mocked and parodied phrase[1] considered to represent “the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing”,[1] also known as purple prose. (Wikipedia reference.)

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wow! It was cold again this morning, so I wore my sock monkey hat to church again. My ears stayed nice and toasty. I love to make people smile, too. Yes, I’m silly. Isn’t it grand?

Today’s Gospel was from Mark. A depiction about what the last day will be like. The Son of Man will come from the clouds, sending his angels and gathering the chosen….

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

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My take on it… gosh, nobody really knows when their last day is, do they? I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. I always say that, but we don’t even have buses here in McKinney. In reality, any day could be our last, so why can’t we just live life to the fullest, be the best person we can be, and love and share and care with all our being? Why can’t we all just do that? Not because we are afraid of hell or looking for heaven, but because it is right and just and feels good. Just sayin’.

Even though it was pretty cold and dreary out, I had a good day. I stopped for coffee at McDonald’s with Mr. Jerry after church. I actually got a hot chocolate instead of iced tea. I don’t drink coffee and I was cold. I couldn’t warm up. It was just dark and damp out all day. When I got home, I changed, bundled up and went for a walk. Gloom and cold doesn’t stop me.

I was rewarded for my fortitude with a lucky penny. This poor penny was waiting for me a very long time. It looked like it had been run over a zillion times. Always a good sign.

When I got home, I made a lot of phone calls, catching up with friends and family. I must have been on the phone three or four hours. Plus, today was Lin’s birthday. We had a lot of catching up to do.

It was a good day. Pretty uneventful, but good. Now, it is night. Hope you had a good Sunday.

Saturday:) Share a Smile With Amazon Smile

17 Nov

“Sharing a smile doesn’t cost you anything, and can mean so much to someone else.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I have been so blessed in my life, and one of the many things I learned from my sainted mother is, when you are blessed, you have to share your blessings with others.

If Mom cooked or baked, she would share with neighbors and friends. If she painted note cards or artwork or made some adorable craft, she made dozens, so she could share. Trini was an excellent seamstress, so she made beautiful dolls and knitted scarves, but also volunteered to do mending and hemming for anyone who asked, ( I asked all the time.)

So, when you see all my posts with me taking brownies to the firemen or soup to my neighbors, hmm…I wonder where I got that from?

When I found out that anyone who is an Amazon account member could sign up to have a portion of their sales be donated to a charity of their choice, I quickly signed up. It didn’t cost a thing, and took about three minutes of my time. I’ve been volunteering with the wonderful non-profit called THE BELLA HOUSE that helps, councils, and nurtures young homeless expectant mothers in the North Texas area.

There are so many ways to help, but signing up for Amazon Smile doesn’t cost a thing. My family and some friends have already signed up. If you would consider helping out THE GABRIEL DBA THE BELLA HOUSE, I would be eternally grateful.

When you share a smile, someone up in heaven smiles back, I know.

Thank you. Hugs!

SMILE AMAZON AND AMAZON WISH LIST FOR THE BELLA HOUSE

The Bella House invites you to consider choosing The Bella House as your favorite charity to benefit from every Amazon purchase you make.  We have established an Amazon wish list to provide opportunities for Bella House supporters to make purchases to send needed supplies directly to the Bella House to benefit the mothers and babies who call the Bella House their home.

Smile Amazon

Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice when you shop at smile.amazon.com.  Smile Amazon is the same Amazon you know with the added benefit of supporting charitable organizations.  On your first visit to Smile Amazon (smile.amazon.com) you are prompted to select a charitable organization (The Gabriel House DBA The Bella House) from Amazon’s list of eligible organizations.  You can change your selection at any time.

Simply begin your Amazon shopping from smile.amazon.com and choose your charity of choice (The Gabriel House DBA The Bella House, Plano TX Founded 2015).  For more information about the Smile Amazon program go to http://smile.amazon.com/about.

Amazon Wish list for The Bella House

Get on amazon smile.com (or Amazon.com). Click on Account and Lists.  Then click on Find a List or Registry.  Then Enter the name:  Bella House.  Then click on Search.  Then click on the result entitled Bella House DALLAS TX.   Once you’ve located the Bella House list, you can click Remember if you’d like to save the link to the list. You will see the Bella House Wish List at this point.  Most if not all of the items listed will be free to ship if you have Amazon Prime.

If you would like a tax receipt for your donation, to preserve your privacy, please notify the Bella House at

contact@bellahouse.org and provide the item(s) purchased and the date and your contact information.

Friday:) Fun and Friends at the VFW~ Karaoke Style

17 Nov

” Karaoke isn’t about being a good singer, it’s about having a good time with good friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Last night was our usual karaoke night at the VFW. When I arrived, Doug was the only one from the old gang sitting there alone at the table. I had invited Danny, from the Monday senior center Country Dance group, to join us last week. I was pleasantly surprised that he was already there with a couple of friends at another table. So, they came over and joined us.

The bad part about a small group is… well, there really isn’t a bad part because I got to do a lot of singing and dancing. And poor Doug, generally our only male dance partner, is polite and makes sure all the ladies get a turn dancing. I was the only lady he knew so I got all the dances. Lucky me.

Normally, I get to sing three or four songs at most. Last night, I probably sang seven or eight. We even crashed the stage and did some unsolicited back-up singing and dancing for some unsuspecting crooners. And I wasn’t even drinking. (I don’t drink and drive…NEVER EVER!) It was a fun night.

Theme Song Thursday:) Sunrise and Sunset

16 Nov

“Any day that you get to witness the majesty of a glorious sunrise followed by a sultry sunset, now, that’s a great day, my friend.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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The beautiful morning sun took away the chill of the actual freezing temperatures. Even the frost on the grass sparkled with delight.

Sunrise

https://youtu.be/LO36F–Vn1g

But, I must admit, sunsets are my favorite photos. The oranges and golds and crimson bursts of color reflect on the water. I always say, only God could paint such a magnificent painting in the sky.

Sunset

https://youtu.be/TX6Fj85xySc

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

15 Nov

“When the weather is cold and gloomy, warm up your home and spirits with fun baking and warm comfort food.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It’s been sooooo cold these past few days, so I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm. Many a pan of brownies have been prepared and shared. Ah, and the house always smells divine.

The other day, I made a big pan of roasted vegetables. There was enough for a LOT of meals. I ate some just alone, and a couple of times I sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese and put in the broiler till it got toasty and melty.. Yum. Then, I added some to a can of cream of chicken soup. More yum.

I also had a couple dozen eggs in the fridge, so I boiled about 15 eggs and made a big bowl of egg salad. My secret is, I use a package of softened cream cheese combined with mayo. The best part, I also sauté and caramelize a large onion and add to the mixture. Ooooh! So good.

Warm soup and egg salad on a tortilla with spinach and/or tomato and avocado.

Good food and a warm heart. Life is good.

Well, that’s going to be a long wait, even here in north Texas.

Tuesday:) Talking To The Artists~ McKinney Creative Community

14 Nov

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

~Coretta Scott King

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Last night was our monthly McKinney Creative Community monthly pot-luck and gathering. Everyone is welcome, and the members and visitors are artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and pretty much anyone interested in sharing or learning creative endeavors. We gather at The Cove the second Monday of each month at 5:30, sharing food, drink, and all the wonderful

things happening in our world,

Our guest speaker was Amy Rosenthal, Main Street Program Director, who gave a wonderful presentation on the history of McKinney and how the community has changed over the past few decades. But, the exciting news Amy shared was that McKinney recently received the honor of being a Designated Texas Cultural District. She said that the local artists, musicians, etc. have been an integral part of making that honor happen.

The group did some brainstorming and making suggestions on how the arts community can participate and contribute to the growth of the city and how the city can help promote and support local artists. It was a very productive and inspirational meeting.

McKinney is a great place to live. I have been blessed with so many creative and talented friends.

Montage Monday and McKinney Helps Fill the Truck for the Samaritan Inn

13 Nov

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

― Charles Dickens

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Thanksgiving and Christmas are always considered the seasons of giving and sharing. People are more generous during the holidays. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could feel that spirit all year round?

My friends Johnny and Julie B. have been braving the frigid temperatures today for the annual FILL THE TRUCK for the Samaritan Inn food drive. This is community shelter that is always filled to capacity, with a waiting list, with hundreds of people being turned away each year because of lack of available rooms. Sad.

The truck will remain parked in front of Super 1 Foods on Virginia and 75 Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Samaritan Inn’s Mission

We are a comprehensive homeless program that helps willing people gain dignity and independence.

I stopped by with a bag of groceries this afternoon. It was bitterly cold, but Johnny B and J J Gato were out there accepting contributions and donations.

It was inspiring to see these folks out there, but it was sad to see that there were hardly any donations in the truck. Look at this almost empty truck after almost ten hours of these brave volunteers waiting for the community to bring some donations. They will be out there Tuesday and Wednesday, so you still have time to help fill the truck.

Look!!! Not much in there.

Julie B. was inside Super 1 for a few minutes to warm up and check on the volunteers inside the store. People can also purchase already packaged donation bags inside the store while they shop.

Consider stopping by and supporting this great cause. While you’re outside on these gloomy cold days, try and remember that there are so many hungry and homeless people right in your own community. A little help goes a long way.

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Now, for a week in a peek and Montage Monday.

Sunday Sermon and Honoring Those Who Served Our Country

12 Nov

“The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect.”

~Bill Frist

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A very cold and breezy Sunday morning. How cold was it Miss Toni? It was SO called, I searched the closet for my warm gloves and sock monkey hat. Yay! It was sock monkey hat weather. And yes, I wear my silly hat to church. So, not only did I get a lot of hugs this morning while greeting at the door before 9 o’clock Mass, but, I also received dozens of compliments on my hat from the adults and smiles from the young children. I was warm and toasty out there.

Don’t worry, I did take my hat off when I got inside.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus observing people putting money into the treasury. The rich gave large sums, but a poor widow gave all she had, just two small coins, and He considered that to be worth more than all the other contributions.

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more

than all the other contributors to the treasury.

For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,

but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,

her whole livelihood.”

My take on it……it’s not the quantity but rather the quality of giving that counts most in life. This applies not only to contributions to charity, but also to love , friendship, and relationships. I think that giving your time and sharing your talents means so much more than writing out a check.

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This evening, my good friend and world’s greatest realtor (did I say that again?) Linda Grossman and I, joined by our friend and Viet Nam veteran, Bob Dunkerley, went over to the Veterans Memorial Park for the Veteran’s Day Sundown Ceremony.

The public was invited to join the City of McKinney and McKinney Armed Services Memorial Board in honoring the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military. This year, there will be two ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Park. A sundown ceremony was held at Veterans Memorial Park that included the reading of over four hundred names displayed on the Wall of Honor followed by the playing of taps.

As we stood against the glossy black cold stone walls of the monument, it was difficult to hold back the tears as the many names of fallen heroes were read in the silence, in the stillness of the night, followed by the clanging of the bell and playing of taps. The photos will tell the story.

I’d like to thank all those who sacrificed so much for our freedom. Thank you.

Saturday:) MAST McKinney Art Studio Tour

11 Nov

“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ”

― William S. Burroughs

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McKinney has recently been designated as a cultural District by the Texas Arts Commission, and the annual MAST, McKINNEY ART STUDIO TOUR, is a perfect demonstration of how local artists have created a thriving artist community.

This afternoon, my dear friend AND world’s great realtor, Linda Grossman and I visited a number of studios on the tour. And as always, it’s wonderful to see the talented artists that just so happen to be good friends of mine.

Kim Guthrie is known for her whimsical paper maché sculptures and adorable painted creatures, but also a wonderful teacher, sharing her many talents. She call The Cove her studio home away from home.

There were several artists at The Martin Place.

Jan Martin, Helen Bailey and other artist were demonstrating their various mediums. Patricia Crain. Elaine Herold, and Sheilian Lonian at The Martin Place.

Guy Giersch and Pernie Fallon opened their home to share their photography, pastel paintings and collaborative artworks, as seen on the wall behind them. Linda and I strolled through their lovely backyard to see Pernie’s backyard studio. I called it, “Pernie’s She Shed.

I commented how neat and organized Pernie is. Oh my, I could never have anyone go through my studio. I call it my “crap room.” Appropriately named.

A visit to the McKinney Art Studio made me have a hankerin’ to take a pottery class. So many talented artists with so many different and original techniques.

Over at the McKinney Art House, my friend Wendolin Mercado (top) gave me a few pointers on knife and star throwing. She’s a talented photographer, leather crafter, and artist of all trades.

My star throwing adventure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaMT-ObO3V

The McKinney Art House family. (Above)

My dear friends and amazing potters at Three Dog Studio. Steve, Alex and Minda Macias.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIu9sOXlh9s

Here a really cool video of a raku firing.

JB Phipps and Kerry Randol-Johnson also at Three Dog Studio.

Our final stop for the day was the gorgeous home of Jeffrey Jensen at his Cedar Street Studio. His architectural background lends itself to his intricate and beautiful watercolors.