Archive | February, 2020

Tuesday:) Two Tips of the Day: Share Your Blessings and Try to Ignore Ignorance

19 Feb

“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

― Mark Twain

************

I’m a firm believer of “The more you give, the more you receive.” There are many ways to give and share besides writing a check or swiping your credit card. Your time, thoughtfulness, sharing a kind word, or sharing your talents are ways to share your blessings,

One of my favorite places to visit and share is Holy Family School on the east side of McKinney. This Episcopal Christian school and daycare provides a safe educational and faith based environment for children ranging in ages from babies to kindergarten, and just seeing those adorable faces is enough to melt any heart.

So, when I see these great sales at the grocery store, I purchase items that I know the school can use for the children’s meals, snacks or care. I also enlist friends to participate, then we drop it off at the school. Today, Helene and I dropped off some cereal, fruit snacks a 10 cans of tuna.

Miss Sondra always greets us with a smile and a big thank you. She’s the greatest.

Look at these adorable children.

There are many ways to give back and share your blessings with your community. If you’d like to see more about Holy Family School, follow them on Facebook.

https://m.facebook.com/HFSMcKinneyTX/

When I got home, I walked Bella thorough the park back to Mr. Mike’s house. I keep an eye on Bella when Mr. Mike travels, and he just got home from the airport. He’s my neighbor and a great friend. I watch his dog when he travels and he’s always looking out for me when I need help. Being the president and owner of a large security business, I’m all hooked up with the latest security technology. We look out for each other. He provides security and manpower, I provide brownies and doggie daycare. A win-win.

Today, Mr. Mike brought me a gift from the airport gift shop on his way home. Does he know me or what? I’m enjoying the chocolates now with a glass of wine.

Surround yourself with sharing and caring people. The more you give, the more you receive. (And chocolate is very caring.)

Now, for the ignorance…When I got home from my walk, I checked the mailbox, and I had a bunch of mail. One letter was from the neighborhood HOA. I assumed it was just a receipt from our absorbent yearly HOA fee that I paid last month, but NOOOOO! It was a citation warning me about the “weeds along the curb around and/or in front of your property need to be removed.” I have ten days to comply.

It’s the middle of winter, for goodness sake. Who goes pulling weeds in the winter? We’ve had a lot of rain and a few warm days, and my grass is turning green and the weeds are popping up like crazy. Here’s the thing, I pay hundreds of dollars a year to a landscaping company that supposedly takes care of my weeds. They already did the first pre-emergent application. Seeing as it’s not mowing season yet, and the grass is supposed to be dormant right now, well, the weeds are flourishing. They were even kind enough to provide a photo of a clump of weeds by the curb. There must be four or five clumps of weeds in my front yard. Oh my gosh!!! Sacrilege!!!! I certainly hope EVERY house in the neighborhood with a clump of weeds received a warning.

I’m trying to ignore ignorance, but it’s not that easy. Give me strength!

Montage Monday and Another Magnificent Sunset

18 Feb

“A loving heart is a magical magnet for magnificence.”

― Debasish Mridha

****************

I can honestly say that I wake up EVERY morning and greet the day with gratitude. “Thank you for your blessings.” That’s my morning prayer, my waking thoughts, my mantra for the day. Sometimes it is followed by, “Holy crap! I forgot to set my alarm,” or “What a glorious day, I think I’ll roll over and go back to sleep.” But, every day is a good day, some “gooder” than others.

Today, I went to the country dance at the senior center, and had lots of fun. It was our chili cook-off lunch, and there was SO much good food. Afterwards, a few of us stopped for an iced tea at Whataburger. I ended up chatting and laughing and gossiping with some friends for almost three hours. Fun! Then, home to walk the dog again. On my drive home, the sky was so gorgeous. I kept hoping for a red light so I could take a picture, and the only red light ended up with all kinds of telephone poles and streetlights and buildings, blocking the view. So, I hurried home and drove down the street where there was a somewhat unobstructed view. Unfortunately, the original massive expanse of blues and grays mingled with golden hues had mostly disappeared, but I caught the grand finale. It was pretty darn awesome.

A week in a peek, and another magnificent sunset.

Sunday Sights, Sounds and a Sunset

17 Feb

“A person who can understand, appreciate, and sing along with a tree has a deeper perception on life.”

― Debasish Mridha

****************

No Sunday Sermon today. I went to Mass last night, and I’ll be honest, I plum forgot what the Gospel reading was. So this morning, I set my alarm for 8 am instead of 6:45. It was nice to not jump out of bed before the sun came up. I picked up Bella and we went for a long walk around the pond. My phone said we walked around a mile. Then seeing as I didn’t have to rush off anywhere…I went back to bed and slept another hour or two. Nice!

Here’s what Bella and I saw on our walk this morning…

I met Helene for lunch, and we went back to her place to make some chili for the country dance tomorrow. It’s our chili cook-off event at the senior center. She had the ground beef already done, and I brought the beans and tomatoes and salsa and chili powder to add. It made a big ol’ pot, and she was able to share some with a few neighbors. Of course, we had to visit with some of the other friends who stopped by.

I stopped at the store on my way home, actually two stores, but who’s counting? Eggs were on sale 29 cents a dozen, limit 2. Yep, had to get those. I was down to my last egg after my baking extravaganza last week. Shredded cheese 49 cents, got 2. Then Kroger had Red Barron frozen pizza for $2.99. I picked up 6 of those for Mr. Mike. Where can you get an entire pizza for $3? I can’t pass up those bargains.

I scurried home to walk Bella again. By now, the temperature was 72 degrees, so I changed out of my long sleeve sweater and put on a t-shirt and off we went. The sun was setting. Wow! Just gorgeous. I don’t know how God does it, but every sunset is a masterpiece.

Saving the best for last… FaceTime with my beautiful granddaughters. The highlight of my day. They are so precious.

Happy Sunday, my friends!

Saturday Memories of My Sweet Mother

15 Feb

“I didn’t lose my mother. Heaven gained an angel. She is by my side every day.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

**************************

It’s been two years since Mom went to heaven. I almost feel guilty that I am not mournful or distraught. I do have little tears trickling down as I reminisce, looking at old photos and remembering the good times, but I am happy because I know she’s in heaven. She sent us a sign, and I knew if anyone could do it, Mom could.

So today, I’ll go to Mass, light a candle and say a prayer, I’ll talk to Mom like I do every day, because I know she’s missing me too.

ANOTHER ANGEL IN HEAVEN

There’s another angel in heaven

Today her soul took wing

She’s up in heaven dancing

While the other angels sing

All were waiting for her

Their arms stretched open wide

To greet my angel mother

There on the other side.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

2/15/18

************************

Words cannot express the extreme sadness nor the joy that heaven has found a new angel.

Love you Mom. 😇

https://youtu.be/5p6wpkqVR0Q

Friday:) Friends, Firemen, and Valentine’s Day

15 Feb

“In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.”

~Salman Rushdie

****************

Wow! What a busy day. I spent the morning frosting cupcakes, preparing food to take to Towne Creek, and gathering up art supplies for our projects. I made about six trips out to load up my car. A Girl Scout troop was coming to visit our little art group today, so we had no idea if there would be five or fifty of us today, so Helene and I prepared for an army. Helene has been a life saver.

When I arrived, the residents at Towne Creek surprised me with a certificate of recognition from the California headquarters of RHF, Retirement Housing Foundation, as their nominee for 2020 Volunteer of the Year. I am very honored.

Kelly Presley, the manager, thanked me for my many years of volunteering. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I get back so much more than I give. It is my pleasure to share my time and talent with these wonderful folks. I used to call them “my seniors,” but guess what…I’m a senior too.

After the presentation, we started work on our Valentine’s Day projects. We painted rocks with red hearts and white dots, and made cute pop-up cards. The Girl Scouts came about an hour later. They were so cute. They had hand-made cards that they passed out to the residents, and of course, they brought many boxes of their famous Girl Scout cookies to pass around.

We all worked on crafts and munched on cookies and cupcakes. The girls and their moms mingled and talked with the residents. They stayed about an hour and a half, and I think they had a nice time too.

I took a nice group photo before they left.

We finished up our painting, and cutting, and chalking projects, then stopped for dinner. Helene made delicious sloppy Joe’s. (I had 2- I was starving.) We had our feast ready, and Mr. David led us in a prayer before we ate. So much food, chips, dips, Fritos, more cookies and cupcakes, then finish up with Blue Bell ice cream. Yum!

By the time Helene and I finished cleaning up, putting everything away, and packing up, we were exhausted. But, we were headed off to a Valentine’s Day party at Joni and Bob’s afterwards. We’d be a little late, but that’s ok, and that’s another story. It was a very creative, fun-filled, and rewarding day.

Now, for my firefighter friends. I dropped off my mini Valentine’s Day cupcakes to my friends at Fire Stations 9 & 5. See those smiles. They appreciated the gesture, but I’m the one who appreciates what they do. They are awesome.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. Now, time to put my feet up and have my traditional Friday Black Russian. Cheers!

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney Rocks

14 Feb

“Everything dreams. The play of form, of being, is the dreaming of substance. Rocks have their dreams, and the earth changes….”

― Ursula K. Le Guin

*****************

This morning was our monthly meeting of The Art Club of McKinney. Lynne, Sherry and I have been planning, texting, and gathering decorations for the refreshment table for weeks. We signed up to be hostesses for February so we could take advantage of a Valentine’s Day theme. When you have three creative overachievers, it makes for a fun meeting.

Our meetings begin with announcements, minutes, treasury reports, and introductions of visitors and new members. Then, we have our artist of the month voting. Members can bring a piece of artwork to be displayed and voted on for first and second place prizes. We have so many talented artists.

Our fabulous guest speakers this month were local artists, Valerie and Wayne Batchelder. The dynamic duo have melded their love of painting and pottery to form the perfect union, both in their studios and in their marriage.

Valerie’s whimsical watercolor and painting techniques are just delightful. Now, the couple occasionally combine their strengths and creativity, as Wayne throws the beautiful pots and cups, Valerie will glaze them with a fun and funky face or design.

Wayne’s earthy organic style of pottery is so different and inspirational. He finds unusual pieces of wood that speak to him, and forms them into his signature handles for his cups and mugs. All the vessels he throws are formed both with his hands and his heart.

The couple described how excited they were to have their recently completed individual studios behind their home in the McKinney historic district. ( I compared them to the perfect She-shed and He-shed.) It is so beautiful to see how much passion they put into their art and how that enhances their beautiful marriage. A great presentation for guest speakers for our Valentine’s Day Art Club meeting.

We are very fortunate to have such talented artists right here in our own community.

Such a fun day with fun artists.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

13 Feb

“Baking makes me happy, and sharing my baking makes me even happier. It’s a win-win.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

**************************

What a dreary bleak rainy day. You know what always cheers me up? Cooking and baking. Unfortunately, I never learned the art of portion control. Fortunately, for friends and neighbors, I never learned the art of portion control.

Today, I was baking mini cupcakes. Not just a batch, but massive quantities of mini cupcakes. I offered to bake for our Art Club meeting in the morning, and I made extra in preparation for my senior art group Friday, and to share with friends.

I probably made over a hundred yellow cake/cherry and just as many chocolate.

Then, a little dab of cherry frosting and a heart shaped conversation candy to finish off the decoration.

I’m going to be a busy girl.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Week In A Peek~ Reflection

12 Feb

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.”

~Wayne Dyer

************

Instead of my Montage Monday yesterday, which was replaced with McKinney Creative Community, I’m having a Toni’s Tuesday Week In A Peek day. A reflection of a busy fun week.

Monday :) McKinney Creative Community

11 Feb

“When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.”

~Everett Dirksen

*********************

This evening, we had our February meeting of McKinney Creative Community over at the Cove. What a wonderful group of talented and creative people. Most of us have become good friends over the years, and have made many new creative friends along the way. Thus, the title. We gather for a potluck and conversation meeting, networking and sharing ideas. After our yummy meal, we sit in a circle and take turns introducing ourselves, talking about our creative passion, and if we have anything new and good to share. Then, on to the best part…

We always have a very interesting speaker. This month our guest speaker was Karen Zupanic, the Executive Director of the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts.

Karen gave an informative presentation on the history of the Heard-Craig House and the philanthropic family. She also told us all the activities, presentations, and community groups and clubs that meet at the home. There is so much going on there that I wasn’t aware of, so I’m sure the rest of the city of McKinney probably isn’t aware either.

More information on the Heard-Craig…

https://www.heardcraig.org/

It was a fun and informative evening.

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

10 Feb

“What is life worth without trials and tribulations which are the salt of life.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

******************

A dreary drizzly Sunday morning. I let Bella out the back door while I put food in her dog dish. She came in a few seconds later, but refused to eat. She is spoiled and wants me to take her for a walk first thing in the morning. She sat with her back to me, refusing to eat her breakfast, until I got dressed and took her for a walk. The cold shoulder…

We went for a drizzly walk, she did her business, and she came in and gobbled up her breakfast while I got ready for church.

Sunday is my favorite day. I get to greet at the door before Mass, hugs, hand shakes, smiles, prayers, singing, cute babies, beautiful families, all coming together to worship. It reinforces my faith in humanity when sometimes the world appears dark and things might look bleak. Thus, a beautiful Sunday morning.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus comparing his disciples to the salt of the earth.

Gospel

MT 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

My take on it… it is our responsibility, just as it was for the disciples, to teach by example. Be the salt, and the strength. Be the light to guide the way. Deeds speak louder than words.

********************

After Mass, Mr. Jerry and I stopped for coffee. Helene didn’t make it, as she was at the airport with family. She was missed.

Afterwards, I stopped at three different stores because each had cool sales that I needed to take advantage of. This was a little challenging because I still have my rental car while my car is in the shop for repair. (Another long story for another day.) Every time I walked out with my shopping cart, I had to say, “What does my car look like again? Where did I park?” Do you know how many little white cars are in the parking lot? By the time I got home, Bella was ready for another walk. Have I spoiled her? Yes! But, I enjoy the walks as much as she does. I just put up my hood, and off we go.

The groceries got put away, then I made my Sunday phone calls. I put up my feet after I made a big cup of hot tea, and proceeded to make my calls.

Of course, my favorite call is my Sunday night FaceTime with the grand daughters. They are so adorable and growing every day. I sure do miss them.

Happy Sunday, my friends.