Archive | January, 2020

Montage Monday and Memorable Moments

21 Jan

“Your memories are a reflection of your heart and soul, so guard your heart and feed your soul.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


That’s what life is for: warm friendships, memorable moments, and beautiful words.”

― Avijeet Das


A wonderful week with more birthday celebrations, lunches, gifts, movies, and time with good friends. A week of counting my blessings.

A week in a peek…

Then, to add more blessings to my day, I received a text from my friend Lynne. She was inviting a few friends over for an impromptu artsy/craftsy afternoon. She said, to just bring something fun to work on and she would provide refreshments. What a great idea. No time to think or plan. Just grab a few paints, brushes, and unfinished projects. Perfect.

Lynne, Sherri, Sherry, and yours truly. I have he sweetest, most talented friends.

Sunday Sermon, a Sunset, and Some Other Stuff

20 Jan

“Every day is a good day. There is something to learn, care and celebrate.”

― Amit Ray


A glorious Sunday morning, a little cool, 34 degrees, but I was happy because it was sock monkey hat weather. A lot of hugs and handshakes greeting before Mass. I always look forward to Sunday morning.

Today’s Gospel was the story of John the Baptist seeing Jesus walking towards him and proclaiming Him the Son of God.

John testified further, saying,

“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven

and remain upon him.

I did not know him,

but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,

‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,

he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’

Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

My take on it… John the Baptist believed that a savior was coming, and that a spirit like a dove who came down upon Him was the sign and was proof to John that Jesus was the Son of God. Faith is a very powerful thing. We aren’t always given a sign or miracle to substantiate our beliefs, but some of us have. I truly believe that if you believe, you will receive. I’ve experienced a few miracles in my life.

After Mass, Jerry, Helene and I stopped for coffee and conversation, then a quick stop at the store.

Another birthday celebration planned for the afternoon with my friend Zelda. Nom Nom was my lunch choice. Normally we go to Olive Garden, but we were thinking something different. Can’t beat Nom Nom for great Mexican food that you pick and choose every item in your meal.

The next stop was a movie. There aren’t too many good movies out there that one of us hasn’t seen already. Zelda suggested “Just Mercy.” At first I poo-pooed the suggestion because it sounded sad, but I thought I’d give it a chance, seeing the alternatives were slim to nothing. I was so glad we decided to go see it.

We were both pleasantly and positively surprised. It was kind of sad in the respect that such tragedies and travesties of justice have, and still take place in our country. But, this was based on a true story, and it gives us hope that there are still some good honest caring people in the world. I give it 4 stars **** out of 5. It was a little long in some stretches, but on a whole, very entertaining.

When I was at the movies, there were no less than 10 or 15 buzzing texts on my phone. Only one was from my son Joe, seeing if I wanted to FaceTime with the girls. Missed it. Oops! When we walked out of he theatre, the flaming sunset was blazing in the sky. Look at these colors! The actual colors! Picture perfect.

When I got home, I was able to FaceTime with Belle, but the baby was already asleep. We had a nice conversation, always ending with “Bye, bye. Love you.” Perfect ending to another perfect day. Feeling blessed.

Happy Sunday, my friends. 🙋

Saturday:) Sitting Around Just Counting My Blessings

19 Jan

“Don’t count your dollars to see how rich you are. Count your memories. Count your friends. Count the hugs you get every day. Count what really matters.”

― Toni Sorenson


When people are asked how much they are worth, I’m sure they usually have a dollar amount in mind. How sad. It’ not how much money you have in the bank, or what kind of house you live in, or what kind of car you drive, it should be how many blessings you have and how much love you feel and receive and share. You can’t put a dollar value on any of that.

Today, I FINALLY got around to reading the little slips of paper in my “GOOD JAR.” I’ve been doing this for a few years. Starting in the beginning of the year, I write down blessings, fun memories, special phone calls or visits with family and friends. I’ve even asked friends to jot something down when they come for a visit. I was still in Chicago January 1st, so I didn’t start recording until I got home. I took the slips of papers, coins, etc., and put them in a bag until I had a chance to sit down and savor each notation. Today was the day.

Some notes were about my sons calling on a Sunday, FaceTime with the grandkids, fun lunches with friends, holidays with my family, Thanksgiving with the Murphy’s, my oldest dearest friend calling to say her lab results were good and the tumor benign, and friends saying how much I mean to them. There were many more blessings in the GOOD JAR.

Also, in the jar were the lucky pennies and coins I would find along my walks or travels. Here’s the run down… A dollar bill, 36 pennies, 8 dimes, 2 nickels, 2 quarters, a 10 centavos coin from España, 1 shiny plastic Texas Lottery coin, a rusty washer, and 3 tiny sea shells from my visit with Matt in CA.

So, if you ask me how much I’m worth today, there’s my breakdown, a couple of dollars in lucky coins to signify my endless luck, and a jar full of memories reminding me of my countless blessings, fabulous friends, and loving family.

After relaxing all day in my warm comfortable house, with nothing to do and nowhere I had to be, counting my blessings and feeling so blessed, I did slip on my shoes and drove over to Fire Station 9 to take them the cute cupcakes Miss Pat sent home with me last night to share with our friends in blue. The guys said, “Thank you, and the peanut butter and jelly cake you sent earlier in the week was fantastic.”

You see, my life is so blessed. And, I’ll keep counting my blessings and put them in a jar for safe keeping. ❤️

Friday Friends and Food Frenzy

18 Jan

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

~Cesar Chavez


Such a dreary drizzly rainy day. I was meeting my friend Linda at The Pantry for lunch on the Square. Yes, another birthday lunch. 🤦‍♀️. More presents. More food. Gosh! Somebody’s got to do it.

The Pantry is one of my favorite restaurants, and my favorite meal is their chicken fried chicken. Oh my!

We had a great lunch and spent over three hours catching up, sharing grandchildren stories and holiday hijinks. Linda gave me a beautiful orchid for my birthday. I was very appreciative, but I reiterated lack of skill and my black thumb, and hoped that the beautiful flower would last more than a couple of weeks. Wish me luck.

After lunch, I stopped over at Towne Creek to drop off some artwork that our group had done for an upcoming community art project. The manager was already gone for the day, so I visited with Miss Kathy for about an hour, and she’s going to give the folder of artwork to Christy on Monday.

By the time I got home, I only had about an hour before scooting over to pick up Jerry. A group of us were invited to dinner at Miss Pat’s. Yep, more food, and lots of it. Stuffed green peppers, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and oh, so many desserts.

We have the nicest group of friends. We laughed and ate, and ate some more. Oh, there was a little drinking involved, but I was designated driver. So many funny stories, some of which I couldn’t repeat without blushing.

I love these guys. Such good friends, great food, and laughter, lots of laughter.

Now, to top off all that good food and friendship… it’s Friday. Black Russian Friday. Cheers, my friends!!!!

Theme Song Thursday:) THANK YOU… The Party’s Over

17 Jan

I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

Nancie J. Carmody


This was the first day in two weeks that I actually stayed home and did some housework and organizing. When I got home from my month long visit in Chicago, I hit the ground running and was out the door every day. Plus it’s my birthday month, so I’ve been celebrating all month.

I cleaned my messy house today, and even cleaned all the bathrooms. (Not my favorite task.) I gathered up the majority of my birthday cards and presents and flowers, and placed them on the kitchen table so I could take a picture. Not everything fit on the table. Overwhelming! I am so blessed.

When I had some friends over Saturday night, I opened birthday gifts and said, “Thank you all so very much. I have the best friends in the world, and I am so blessed. And, I don’t write thank you notes, so consider yourself thanked.” They laughed, but I was serious. I’m horrible at writing thank you notes.

So, if you are one of the many wonderful friends who sent me a beautiful birthday card or gift… consider yourself thanked. That’s how I roll. I be bad.

Thank you, thank you, I love you all! ❤️❤️❤️ (No stamp required)

Well, the party’s over. It’s time to call it a day…

I think I’ve had quite enough, time to put away stuff

And go to karaoke to sing, dance, and play.

(It’s been another great day.)

Wednesday:) Wisdom of Solomon, Patience of Job, and Kindness of a Stranger

16 Jan

“He who is right in his walk is sure in his steps, but he who takes the wrong way will be found out.”



Monday morning, I was on a mission of mercy, I went over to the Collin County Courthouse to help out my friend and neighbor, Mr. Mike. He had jury duty Monday morning, but he was stranded out of town and couldn’t get a flight out in time to get there. He had no way of calling or contacting anyone, so I picked up his yellow summons card and went over there to explain the situation and make sure he didn’t get arrested and sent to prison. (Just kidding… maybe not.)

I waited outside the closed double doors along with a throng of about one hundred other restless people. When I approached one of the deputies collecting summons cards, I asked who I could speak to about an emergency absence. Then, I waited in another long line until I reached a glassed window. I explained that I was there for my neighbor who was stranded out of town because of weather and couldn’t attend. The very nice clerk looked up the card number. I said, “He wasn’t sure what to do, and was in a panic because there was no way to call, so I volunteered to come down and explain. I said that if he got arrested and thrown in jail that I’d bake some brownies with a file in them.”

I’m not sure if she smiled or not, but she looked up and said, “Tell you what I’m going to do. We seem to have plenty of jurors available today, so I will just dismiss him.” I thanked her profusely and scurried out. Yay! (The kindness of a stranger.)

Seeing as I was already at this beautiful new courthouse, I decided to walk around, then see if I could sit in on a few cases in the courtroom of my friend, Judge John Roach Jr.

The last time I was at the courthouse, a couple of years ago, I caught Judge John in between cases, and he invited me to come up and sit in his chair, but I declined and settled for a selfie. This time, the cases were already lined up, so I just sat and watched the process. No selfie op.

As I sat in the front row, I couldn’t help but think that everyone should spend at least an hour in a random courtroom. So much goes on in our community that you have no idea about. I was so impressed with the entire court system, but most of all, with the exemplary decisions made by Judge John Roach, Jr.

The wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the kindness of a stranger is what best describes what I witnessed in the courtroom. We are very fortunate to have people like Judge John sitting on the bench.


Judge Roach was elected to serve as Judge of the 296th District Court in 2006, taking office on January 1, 2007.

As a general jurisdiction judge he presides over felony criminal, family law, civil litigation cases and cases involving Child Protective Services. He has disposed of over 20,000 cases in the last 10 years. Judge Roach has the lowest reversal rate of any judge in Collin County according to Westlaw legal research website.

In addition to his regular duties as Judge, Judge Roach has made significant changes to the judicial processes in Collin County through the use of technology. He developed the Felony Video Plea Program, with the cooperation of many other officials and department heads, which uses videoconferencing technology to connect the secured jail facility and the courthouse. This connection eliminates the need to have felony prisoners transported to the courthouse for plea hearings. This has decreased the potential liability to the County, made Sheriff Department employees who transfer prisoners safer, has made the employees and general public using the courthouse safer and has saved in excess of $500,000. The Program has received national recognition. Judge Roach has the opportunity to consult other counties in implementing this technology and has worked with local Legislators to make changes in the law to keep up with technology.

Judge Roach also developed the Mental Health Managed Counsel Program which developed specific protocols in handling criminal cases involving mentally ill defendants. He was instrumental is applying for and receiving a four-year matching grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. Once the four-year grant had expired, the efficiency and cost-savings the Program has had for Collin County were so significant, the Program has now been established as its own Department in Collin County. The Program has received recognition throughout the country and is the model for how counties handle cases involving the mentally ill.

Judge Roach has also been chosen by his fellow judges to serve on the Collin County Purchasing Board. He also serves on the Collin County Technology and Security Committees.

Toni’s Tuesday:) More Celebrations and a Montage

15 Jan

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

~ Marcel Proust


The great thing about having so many wonderful friends is there are SO MANY birthday celebrations. January should be proclaimed Toni-uary. I’m still getting birthday cards in the mail and good wishes on Facebook.

The girls invited me for a birthday lunch that was several weeks in the planning. It’s a little more difficult to get five busy people together for one afternoon. Today was the day.

The photographer wasn’t in the photo, so thank you Sherri Murphy for taking all the photos. (Older photo)

After opening presents, having cake, sharing stories, our usual three hour lunch came to a close.

When I got home, there was a package waiting for me at the front door. A gift from my California boy, Matt. He usually sends me flowers, but this year I requested that just a phone call or card would be fine. If he wanted to send a gift, perhaps something that his momma could remember or use for a long time. I love it! Look what I got…

The celebrating wasn’t over. My three year old granddaughter asked daddy to call Gamma so we could FaceTime. I love these little faces.

After a lovely call, I scooted over to church for the St. Gabriel’s Women’s Club monthly meeting. It was Bingo night.

I certainly have the greatest friends, and the greatest life. My soul blossoms.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Just Another Manic Monday

14 Jan

“Always believe something wonderful is about to happen. You are in control. Never allow your Monday to be manic. Don’t let the word Monday scare you, do something awesome.”



I got up before the 6:45 alarm to get dressed and walk the dog. A busy day ahead. My morning entailed going over to the Collin County Courthouse before 8:30 am. A long story and a favor for a friend. It all worked out and I hung around to visit the court room of my friend, Judge John Roach Jr. Very interesting.

When I got home, I needed to prepare sandwiches for the pot luck for the senior center country dance, cut up and pack up the cake for my firemen at Station 9, and cut up the brownies and peanut butter Snicker pie for McKinney Creative Community.

On my way to the dance, I dropped off the cake at Station 9 around 1pm.

Firefighter Summers had a big smile, a big thank you, he and asked me how my Christmas with family in Chicago was. I had mentioned before I left in December that I’d be gone all month. How nice that he remembered.

The dance was fun, as usual. Over 90 people this afternoon. I just looked at my phone step tracker, and it looks like all that dancing added around 8,000 or more steps to my day. Having fun and getting steps in at the same time. Cool!

After the dance, I stopped at Whataburger for an iced tea with friends, then stopped at the thrift store to check out the treasures and bargains. Then, over to McKinney Creative Community at The Cove before 6.

My friend and amazing printmaker, Lynn Hubner, had her artwork still on display at The Cove, so I was able to see the amazing work before our meeting. I was so sad when I thought that I missed this art show over the weekend.

Our guest speakers were the owners of a new fun creative shop on the Square called GRAPHITE. Trina Brown and Leslie Gardner shared their backgrounds and vision of starting a business that focused on bringing back the beautiful art of the written word and communication.

Graphite is located at 211 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. The store offers variety of unusual pencils as well as sharpeners, erasers, stationary, stickers, cards, books, socks, and T-shirts. The store also offers a variety of classes like handwriting, calligraphy, letter writing, journaling, resume writing, and sketching. Other classes and workshops are forming. If you have some suggestions, Trina and Leslie are open to suggestions.

McKinney has the greatest group of creative and talented people, and they all share their dreams and visions with the community.

It was a busy awesome Crazy Manic Monday, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Sunday Sermon, Sunrise, and Some Other Stuff

13 Jan

“Start each day with a smile, a glorious sunrise, and some quiet time to count your blessings.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It was freezing cold here in Texas yesterday, literally. My Google assistant said, “In McKinney, it is 31 degrees, but with the wind chill, it feels like 19.” This morning, she told me it was 38. Instead of feeling sad and cold, I was excited because I could wear my sock monkey hat to greet at church this morning. (I love the looks I get from young and old alike.)

I took the dog for a walk a little after 7am and was able to catch the sunrise. A misty pastel sky was the perfect backdrop for the lovely lunar sphere .

It was really cold greeting outside the doors at church for half an hour, but the warm hugs and handshakes warmed our spirit.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus going down to the Jordan to be baptized by John, who felt unworthy. But, Jesus said it was right and fitting. After Jesus was baptized by John, the sky opened and a spirit like a dove descended saying…

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

My take on it… John the Baptist felt unworthy to baptize Jesus, but he listened to the Lord because it was ordained. We don’t always know what our mission or destiny is here on this earth, and most likely we aren’t going to have a dove descend and talk to us. But, we need to listen to our heart, do what we think is right and live, love, and share this wonderful life to the best of our ability.


After Mass, Mr. Jerry and I stopped for coffee, then I stopped at the store, then home to walk the dog again. The sun was out, so it didn’t seem as cold as the thermometer displayed. The rest of the day was pretty lazy. I need to clean up my after party mess, but just like unpacking from my long trip, I’ve mastered the art of procrastination. Maybe tomorrow? Oh wait, I have some errands in the morning, the dance in the afternoon and McKinney Creative Community potluck at 5:30. Maybe Tuesday? Oops! I have a busy day then too. Fortunately, this is a Leap Year. I’ll squeeze it in sometime. There is an extra day on the calendar, after all.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) So Many Blessings, and Friends, and Celebrations

12 Jan

“Count your age by friends, not years, your life by smiles, not tears.”

~John Lennon


Another special day of birthday celebrations. The most amazing part of having so many great friends is that there are endless dinners, lunches and birthday get togethers. I invited a few friends over this evening and we had a wonderful time. Because I was safe at home, I was able to have a few glasses of wine. When I go out to meet friends, I don’t drink and drive so this was a very special occasion. I was home.

I got up early and baked and prepared food, but everyone brought all kinds of food and wine to share, so we had enough for an army, and a very big army, at that.

I received so many cool gifts. My friends really know me. Jerry got me a cool karaoke microphone with built in bling and sparkle…rather like myself. I proceeded to serenade everyone. Then, they all serenaded me with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.

I am so blessed with the greatest friends in The whole wide world.

The birthday celebrations continue.