Archive | October, 2019

Sunday Sermon and 60+ New Friends

21 Oct

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”

~Henri Nouwen

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Another beautiful Sunday. I love greeting before Mass, getting lots of hugs and handshakes. I passed out little cars and a beanie baby to my little friends, and ran over to welcome the Chateau bus. I gave each senior friend a big hug and a piece of chocolate candy from my Halloween stash.

Today’s Gospel was Jesus telling his disciples about the necessity to always pray, using the parable of an unfair judge who kept denying justice for pleading widow. The judge finally gave in, saying that he didn’t fear God nor respect anyone, but the widow kept bothering him so he would finally render a just decision “lest she finally come and strike me.”

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones

who call out to him day and night?

Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

My take on it… the parable is telling us that the Lord will make sure justice is quick to those who are faithful and constant, but when the final day comes, will God find any faithful? I sure hope so. Don’t give up or give into the ways of sin, greed, and corruption.

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Well, I just took a short break from writing here because the tornado sirens went off. Scary! I grabbed a big pillow, blanket, flashlight, and cell phone and took cover. I called my sister and talked to her until the sirens stopped. Now, we are just under severe thunderstorm warnings. So far, so good.

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Back to Sunday. After Mass, Helene and I had volunteered to dispense our parish picture directories in the cafeteria. Very nice books. Everyone was impressed. They looked like high school year books. We joked around saying that we should bring our books next Sunday and get autographs and ask friends to sign our books like we did in high school. “Good luck next year.” “2 good 2 B forgotten.” Remember those? They were also passing out the baby banks, where we put in our loose change and cash for a few weeks to support various children’s groups.

I got home in time finish up my pasta salad and divide into containers. I was invited to a friend’s house for a potluck barbecue at 1 o’clock Wow! Lots of great food and even better company.

Then, Helene and I had joined a church group called 60+ that was meeting at 5:30. We didn’t even know such a group existed, but we saw the sign up sheet at the church picnic a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to check it out. The only requirement is being 60 years old or more. Well, we’ve got that covered.

We met at Dave Manders’ gorgeous home in McKinney. There were probably 40 to 50 people there, with so many wonderful folks and delicious food. It was so nice to talk to people that I see every Sunday at church, but never knew their names or get to chat. Then, there were new friends to meet. We were welcomed with open arms.

Father Don was there to give the blessing before we ate, and to join us for fellowship, food, and conversation.

I feel so blessed to be part of such a loving church community. I’ve made so many good friends at St. Gabriel the Archangel, but more importantly, I’ve become even stronger in my Catholic faith. I like this quote below. “Church is who you are. Church is what you do.”

Saturday:) So What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

19 Oct

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.

Wolfgang Puck

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The skies were clear and the temperatures perfect this morning. I took Bella for a walk around the pond, soaking up the crisp morning air, before running errands.

I went to the bank, cleaners, grocery store, then met Helene for lunch at Anamia’s Tex-Mex. We sat outside and enjoyed the afternoon. Helene spent her morning making potato salad for a couple of functions we were both invited to. I had to go home and start my macaroni marathon. (Not really macaroni. More like pasta salad.)

I figured if I was invited to two different pot luck gatherings, I’d make the same thing for both. I’m used to cooking mass quantities.

So, I started off with two pounds of mini pene pasta. While that was boiling, I cut up several pounds of broccoli, eight Roma tomatoes, and diced some red onion. (Onions are very sharp, so I always microwave or sauté a minute to ease up on the sharpness.)

When the pasta was drained, I added a pound bag of frozen peas. This also helps the pasta cool faster. Because I had so much and needed to stir, I used two big mamma Tupperware bowls. I added an entire bag of shredded Colby Jack cheese, an entire bottle of ranch dressing and Italian dressing, and about 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise. Then, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

I had to scooch (technical cooking term) half of the pasta mixture onto half the side of the broccoli tomato mixture, and reverse. This way I had room to toss and mix. When all was said and done, I was able to squeeze both mixtures into one big bowl, filled to the brim.

Now, to find room in the fridge. 🤦‍♀️ That is the biggest challenge. Wish me luck.

So, that’s what’s cookin’ here. I need to get out for an evening walk, and maybe catch the sunset.

Happy Saturday, my friends. 🙋

Frustrating Friday:) Holy “You Gotta Be Kidding” Honda Dealer and My Firefighters

19 Oct

“Do I look stupid? Don’t answer that, please.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I got up bright and early to walk the dog and get over to the Honda dealer for a scheduled oil change. That yellow wrench light on the dash had been on for a couple of weeks. I had received a coupon in the mail for $10 off a maintenance appointment. Good timing. It was a beautiful cool sunshiny morning.

When I pulled into the service bay, the advisor was very prompt and courteous. I said that I had an appointment and a coupon for my oil change. He said great, and it would be about an hour, and he’d text me when my car was ready.

I decided to walk across the street to the Whataburger and get an iced tea, better than sitting in the crowded waiting room. I wasn’t tempted by the free coffee and sugar cookies. And, without fail, the advisor always comes in with a clipboard with all the other suggested services that your car really desperately needs.

I was sitting there at Whataburger with my iced tea, checking emails, when I received the text. OH MAN! There was a litany of suggested maintenance tasks that needed attention. I texted back, “NO THANK YOU. JUST THE OIL CHANGE.”

Is it just me, or do they make up stuff because I’m a woman, and an old woman, to boot? Would they pull that stuff on a man? The reason I was really skeptical was because the paperwork said I needed new rear tires. I got four brand new tires at a different place about a year ago. It also said my battery failed the load test. Now, that’s a load of …. I also got a new battery from AAA not that long ago. The list went on and on. My car only has 42,000 miles on it. Really?

My oil change with super duper coupon discount was only $42.18. That’s ALL I paid. If I would have agreed to the suggested maintenance…. an additional $1,159.09 was the estimate. You do the math. Over $1,000 in additional service!!! I DON’T THINK SO!!!! I declined. Do I look stupid…? Don’t answer that.

OK, that’s my rant for today. It was just a little annoying, probably because I used to fall for that stuff. Not anymore.

Afterwards, I had time to run a few errands and get over to the YMCA in time for my Zumba class, then ride the stationary bike for 2 1/2 miles. Then, a quick stop at Fire Station 5 to take some cookies. Miss Pat takes several plates of cookies to karaoke on Thursday night, and I get to take the leftover cookies to the fire station Friday morning.

I took brownies over to station 9 on Tuesday. See, these guys are so skinny. They need brownies and cookies.

It was a good day, and it’s Friday. Yay! Black Russian Friday just minutes away.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thankful Thursday~ Holy Family School

17 Oct

“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

~John Wooden

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Well, Mr. Wooden pretty much covered all the bases on how to live a perfect life. Now, if we all could follow these guide lines, it would be a perfect world. As much as we try to make that happen, we don’t always succeed. So, all we can do is do our best. I try to follow these steps, but I’ll admit, I’m not much of a reader, the “Good Book” or otherwise. I do a lot of short reading, but not novels or classics or even the Bible. I think I just can’t sit still that long.

Today, I was feeling particularly thankful for my wonderful life, great friends, and fantastic family. And, I do consider each day a masterpiece and try to be true to myself. I have made friendship a fine art, and I do love to help others.

This morning, my side-kick Sherri and I went over to Holy Family School on the east side. Sherri had some early childhood instructional books and materials to donate, and I had apples and several boxes of cereal, and Zelda had picked up more granola bars, and Helene more cereal for the children.

Miss Sondra and Miss Maria were thrilled to see us. Sherri had also inquired about volunteering occasionally, perhaps doing craft projects, and I said I’d like to read some stories in Spanish. Wouldn’t that be fun? The children are so adorable. We arrived during lunchtime, and the 4 year old group loved the visit. We were treated to hand shakes, high fives, fist pumps, and a rousing medley of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

After lunch, they were getting ready for nap time and our presence had made them a little loud and distracted. We exited with more fist pumps and giggles. What adorable children. Miss Sondra said we were welcome any time.

Sherri and I left the school all invigorated and looking forward to sharing our talents and time with these youngsters.

Sherri and I had lunch, stopped at the thrift store, then ventured home. I had errands to run later, but I took a few minutes to stop at St. Gabriel’s for Adoration and a few prayers of thanks and pray for guidance.

There’s always something to be thank for, and I could use all the guidance I can get. Amen…

Wednesday:) Who Doesn’t Love A Parade?

17 Oct

“My vision is one of celebrations and banquets, diplomas and banners, rings and parades.

John Calipari

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My friend Sherri Murphy called and invited me to join her on another impromptu adventure this afternoon. Her grandsons go to Prosper High School, and today was their homecoming parade and pep rally. I drove over to her house, and she and Michael packed up some chairs and we were on our way.

The PHS parade route rivaled that of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Parents, family members, students, children, strollers and restless youngsters lined the streets hours before the start time. Sirens from several Prosper police cars and fire trucks blared the start of the parade.

They sure do it bigger and better in Texas, that’s for sure.

I love a parade!

Tuesday:) Talking About McKinney Creative Community

16 Oct

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

~Coretta Scott King

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The second Monday of every month, a wonderful group of talented artists, writers, musicians, and local creative people gather at The Cove for a potluck gathering and meeting of the minds.

What a fabulous group of people, and the potluck dinner is always over the top. Some people bring wine, teas and beverages, and there are all kinds of yummy food, snacks and desserts. (I bring brownies every time. I’d be kicked out if I didn’t bring my brownies.)

We always have a fascinating guest speaker. Our speaker yesterday was Colleen Hartley who spoke to the group about how to promote their artistic endeavors through Brand Identity.

Colleen gave us some interesting insight into the importance of websites and creating our personal branding. She works with clients to promote their business, but she also shared many tips, free websites, and ways that we can all promote our artistic endeavors. As artists and creatives, we usually don’t know the best way to promote our work. Colleen gave us some great ideas on how to accomplish this.

McKinney Creative Community is open to anyone interested in meeting other like-minded people, sharing ideas, learning, and making new friends. You can find more info on Facebook.

We have a great community and compassionate members who take action to make it so.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” â€“ Coretta Scott King

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

14 Oct

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s twelve thousand words. Saves me a lot of time writing.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Here’s my week in a peek… wonderful art and artists, friends, food, and family.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

13 Oct

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

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An absolutely perfect Sunday morning. I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather, in he 60’s and the sky a crystal clear blue. That’s why this Psalm and song popped into my head.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus entering a village where ten lepers asked, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” He cleansed them, but only one returned, fell at the feet of his healer and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner.

Jesus said in reply,

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?

Where are the other nine?

Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;

your faith has saved you.”

My take on it… sometimes we ask for God’s help, but we forget to thank Him when our prayers are answered. But also, how many times do friends and family do something special for us, and we often take it for granted. It’s funny, I was thinking about that e other day. I thought, I need to make some special hand painted cards and send to people that have been so kind and generous to me, and just say “Thank you for all the times I forgot to say thank you.” This Gospel reading spoke to me.

After Mass, Mr. Jerry, Helene and I stopped for coffee and conversation, then I stopped at the grocery store to buy more stuff that I really don’t need, but… it was on sale.

Another walk around the neighborhood with Bella. She loves the cooler weather. So do I. Then, I decided to work outside a couple of hours. It’s been too hot for weeks, but… this is the day the Lord has made… for working outside.

I had a nice chat with my friend Debbie, from back home in Chicago. She texted me a cool shadow picture of her Halloween decorations and I did an Artisto application to it. My friend Debbie is awesome. We’ve been friends since BC… before children. I think about 1977. Thanks Deb, for all the friendship and kindness all these years. (Your other best friend is kinda skinny there.)

Now, I have to walk the dog again and think about getting something to eat. Yikes! It’s almost 7 and I haven’t eaten anything but a handful of Bugles and nuts. Crazy!

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Some More Amazing Artwork- Anne ROYER

13 Oct

“Artists do not create to make a living, but rather are living to create.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Have you been down to The Cove this weekend to see Miss Annie Royer’s beautiful watercolors? Well, drop what you’re doing and get over there NOW! The show is today 6-9:30. Plus, its Second Saturday on the Square. The weather is cool and refreshing, and the atmosphere will be warm and inviting.

Anne Royer is a quiet, behind the scenes legend in the McKinney artists community. Her artistic style is as unique and versatile as her life. She is admired and respected by all who know her.

We stopped by The Cove last night after my volunteer artist group at Towne Creek. The gallery was packed with friends, fellow artists, neighbors, and art aficionados.

These impromptu painting were just delightful. And so is Miss Annie. 🤗

Friday Friends, Fun Art Projects, and My Firemen

12 Oct

” A day filled with good friends, great food, art, music, sharing and caring is the best kind of day.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another crazy busy non-stop wild and wacky wonderful Friday. I hit the ground running, well, not exactly running, but walking pretty fast. I woke to temps in the 40’s as opposed to the 90’s yesterday, I’ve been doggie sitting, so she got several long walks. There were errands, post office, cleaners, and grocery store. But, I did take out about half an hour to stop at church for Adoration, and some special prayers. This slows me down and calms my soul.

Today was also my day to volunteer over at Towne Creek Senior Apartments, with my Young At Heart Artists. Trying to get packed up with all the art supplies and food by 2 o’clock is always a challenge. Helene has been joining me, and is such a big help. She always brings some yummy food to share. Today, she made homemade chicken salad. I made a big pot of chicken pot pie soup. It’s cream of chicken soup with potatoes, peas, carrots, and corn. We also had garlic bread, cherry pie, and butter pecan ice cream.

We were celebrating Miss Bonnie’s birthday today, and she was surprised and thrilled that we remembered her birthday.

We always have a feast, and anyone passing by or hanging around is always welcome to join us. We always have plenty to share.

Our project today was getting a jump on Christmas projects. We had some wooden snow flakes and glass wine bottles. The ladies all giggled when I came out of the craft closet with a Santa hat, so I had them all pose with their finished project wearing my hat.

It’s always so rewarding to share your time and talents with others. I love these lovely ladies.

Now for my friends the firefighters. Miss Pat gave me some cookies yesterday to drop off at Station 9.

I took some cupcakes over on Tuesday. These firefighters must really work out a lot. Look how skinny they are after all those treats.

Happy Friday, my friends.