Archive | April, 2020

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

20 Apr

“To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.”

~Stanislaus I

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This morning I was able to sleep in a little because there was going to be a very special live streaming Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at 11 am at St. Gabriel. But, as is my custom, I still attended Mass in my jammies. The service was officiated by Dallas Archdiocese Bishops Burns and Kelly. Bishop Kelly was our original founding pastor at St. Gabriel back in 1996, so it was a special service.

Today’s Gospel was the “Doubting Thomas” story. The disciples were all locked away in a room after the resurrection, fearing for their lives. Jesus appeared before them saying, “Peace be with you, ” and showed them His wounds. Thomas was not with them, and when they told him that they saw Jesus, Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he could see and touch the wounds himself.

Eight days later, Jesus appeared in the closed room, and invited Thomas to touch the wounds so he could believe.

28 Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’

29 Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

My take on it… sometimes you have to believe in things that you can’t see or don’t have physical proof of. That’s what faith is. You can’t see the air, but you know it’s there and you breathe. You can’t see love, but you can feel it.

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Bishop Kelly gave a wonderful homily comparing how our situation today is similar to how the disciples were locked away in fear of the unknown, but they still had faith. We are locked away in our homes, uncertain of our future and our safety, so we must remain faithful. He also reminded us what Pope Francis said. During these difficult days, we need to help one another and the less fortunate.

“We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other,” he said during his homily in front of a rainy St. Peter’s Basilica, before an empty square and a single priests.

It was a beautiful Mass with a wonderful message and amazing singing.

Bishop Burns gave his final blessing to all.

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Then of course, the highlight of my Sunday is getting to FaceTime with my little granddaughters and watching them grow right before my eyes.

Saturday:) Some Simple Painting Tips with Toni

19 Apr

“If there is one sin—or rather one waste—it is not doing what you have the inclination or gift for.”

― Oliver

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My old friend Vivian, (She’s not old, just a longtime friend) called me yesterday, and we had a nice long conversation. Viv is a talented artist and former art teacher. She’s been using her quarantined time in Florida to paint, draw, do crafts, work on puzzles, etc., and she challenged me to work on an art or craft project every day. Yikes! She told me that I was very talented and that it was a shame not to take advantage of this crazy confinement.

I never got around to working on a project during the day yesterday, but around 1:30 am, I went upstairs and decided to paint some notecards. I was running low on my hand-painted cards that I use for birthdays and thank notes. I’ve seen so many free how-to videos on Facebook and YouTube lately, that I decided that perhaps I should make some videos and share my tips and techniques, too.

PAINTING NOTE CARDS….

I usually use inexpensive acrylic paint, but my favorite is Folk Art brands, especially the metallics. But, for the gold or silver, Gleams is the best. I’m not sure if I’m up for a painting project every single day. Maybe once a week? Let me know if you give it a try.

Friday:) Hazy, Lazy Days and a Fiery Sunset

18 Apr

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.

Jules Renard

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Yesterday, I was lazy and today I was lazier. Is that even humanly possible?. I posted a photo of myself on my Facebook page yesterday saying that I was so proud because I had showered, washed my hair and got dressed all before 5pm. I received 83 likes and 16 encouraging comments, everyone could relate. Today, I was even lazier. I didn’t get dressed till after 6pm, and the only reason to change was I wanted to go for a walk around 7, and my pajamas weren’t warm enough for the cold damp evening.

On my walk around the pond, I noticed a lone male duck paddling around in the water. I was sad because I’m pretty sure that that was the same duck that I had seen for several weeks with his mate. I called them the love birds. Yesterday and today, he was all alone.

This was last week.

This was today. 😔 I don’t think ducks know about social distancing. I think he lost his mate. As I continued my third loop around the pond, I noticed the sun was setting way on the other side of the neighborhood, so I scurried down towards an open field a few blocks away. It was pretty gray and gloomy, but I could see an orange haze in the distance behind the houses. That’s my go-to spot for sunsets. The sun wasn’t quite ready to dispense her glorious glow, so I sat on a stone ledge and waited for just the right moment.

I snapped a few pictures then sat back down to enjoy the rest of Mother Nature’s performance.

When I got to my front yard, my neighbor’s cat Mo, was dutifully guarding my front yard. Mo loves me. Sometimes I kitty sit for him and his brother Stan. I’m pretty sure that’s why I haven’t had any mice or bunny problems the last few years. They’re looking out for Miss Toni.

Well, it’s Friday again and I’ve been looking forward to my Black Russian since… well… since last Friday. Cheers my friends. Be safe. Stay healthy. Happy Friday!

Thankful Thursday:) Thankful For Karaoke, The Texas Bluesmen, and My Great Entertaining Friends

17 Apr

Music is very spiritual, it has the power to bring people together.

Edgar Winter

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Thursday used to be karaoke night at Delaney’s Irish Pub. I miss hanging out with my fun friends, singing and dancing, and the great music.

So, in honor of karaoke days gone by, I’m virtually singing along with my friend Bob. His wife Joni has been kind enough to record Bob singing every Thursday night, just to keep us happy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toQ7Z6ZVG8E

Now, I’m watching my friends Justin and Paul performing live at Lava Cantina. They are the awesome Texas Bluesmen and Blues Brothers tribute band. Love these guys! 🎤

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1UqUgJhshA

Makes me feel like home… Sweet Home Chicago. Thank you Justin and Paul. Miss you guys. Can’t wait to see you back at Delaney’s Irish Pub.

Thankful for friends, family, and music.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

16 Apr

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” 

~M.F.K. Fisher

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If you recall, yesterday, I was cooking up a storm. I made a huge pot of ham/bean/veggie soup, but everyone that I offered soup to in my neighborhood, graciously declined. I probably could eat most of it and freeze some, but I wanted to share. I guess not everyone likes the beans or the tomatoes or the ham or the veggies. That’s ok. I’m not offended.

So today, when some of my friends over at the apartments were doing a progressive potluck, offering curbside for those of us living further away, I offered to drop off a dessert when I picked up the curbside meal. I said I didn’t need any food for me, but I’d pick up Mr. Jerry’s dinner and save him a trip, as he lives closer to my side of town.

I decided the easiest and tastiest dessert to share and dispense would be my favorite peanut butter Snicker no bake mini pies. (Watch video for directions and recipe)

While the desserts were setting up in the fridge, I decided to make some pasta for Mr. Jerry and Mr. Mike. I know they like pasta. So, I made a big pot and divided it up, and put in containers for transport. I didn’t even save any for myself. I still have lots of soup eat. Sometimes I just get on a roll and I have to cook and bake and share. It’s a Toni thing.

I dropped off the pasta and four mini pies for my neighbor, Mr. Mike. Then, I drove over to Helene’s, and she had my curbside pick-up of chicken cacciatore with bread, cobbler, whipped cream, and salad, packed up and ready to go. I drove over to Mr. Jerry’s and dropped the wonderful meals from “the gang,” along with what I made. He was delighted and now has enough food for the rest of the week. He sent us a thank you photo.

Sharing is caring, and I have the sweetest caring friends in the world.

When you can’t hug someone, give them food. Almost just as good.

Tuesday:) Tough Times Call For Some Serious Cookin’

15 Apr

“When the going gets tough, the tough start cookin’ up a storm.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’ve been in a crazy cooped-up quarantined deep funk. The only thing that helps me cope with such a dilemma is cooking and baking. I haven’t had much of an appetite despite all the wonderful tempting posts of delicious dinners by friends on Facebook.

It finally occurred to me that the only reason I enjoyed food was when it was shared with friends and family. I miss my lunches with the girls, and the potlucks at the dance every Monday, and the feasts with my senior artist friends, and the dinners with the gang, and making brownies and cupcakes for my firemen. It’s the sharing.

So, today I decided to do some cooking. Maybe it would cheer me up. My neighbor Allison gave me some leftover ham on Sunday. I decided to make some “everything but the kitchen sink soup.”

I took out all the remaining vegetables I had in the fridge, a bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli from the deep recesses of the freezer, and then I sliced and diced, added a few cans of beans and broth. It simmered for hours and the house smells yummy.

Well, the soup needed something special to go along with it. I remembered my friend Lynne had a wonderful recipe for cornbread that used creamed corn, sour cream, butter, eggs, and green chiles. What’s not to Like? Perfect!

I sat in front of the TV, and enjoyed my quarantined culinary extravaganza.

Now, what to do with all the leftovers?

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Positively Uneventful Peek

14 Apr

“If things got any slower around here, the hands on my clocks would start moving backwards. Just sayin’.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another week has flown by. Who am I kidding? I’m still sitting on the same spot on the sofa that I was sitting on last Monday… and I haven’t moved since. Just kidding, but almost. Just trying to stay healthy and ahead of the game. Thank goodness for technology to keep in touch with friends and family. I hope you are all doing well. Stay healthy and happy.

A week in a peek….

Sunday:) Happy Easter

13 Apr

“Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.”

― N.T. Wright

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Happy Easter my friends. The rain and wind pelted the windows during the night, but the morning brought sunshine and warm weather. Perfect timing for a beautiful Easter.

I was able to view 9 o’clock Mass at St. Gabriel’s on live streaming. While people were commenting and signing in before 9, I commented, “Welcome to St. Gabriel’s. I’m virtually greeting you this morning at the door.” I didn’t tell them I was still in my pajamas. I kind of laughed to myself thinking, “I hope when this is all over, that I don’t to go to church in my pajamas.”

It was a beautiful service. Today’s Gospel was… well… I think pretty much everyone know what today is all about. Three words… HE HAS RISEN.

Thank you Father Don, Father Robert, Deacons and staff for sharing this special day with us.

I spent the rest of the day walking, texting and talking on the phone with friends and family, and of course, a little FaceTime with my beautiful grand-daughters.

Happy Easter, my friends.

Sending hugs and kisses.

Saturday:) Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom Nor Covid 19 Doom….

12 Apr

“Neither snow not rain nor heat nor gloom nor Covid 19 doom shall stay this old lady from her appointed daily walks.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Today was the laziest day by far. This morning, I heard the thunder in the distance and thought, “Oh no! My car is still outside in the driveway.” Instead of getting dressed and scooting out to bring the car into the garage before the rain, I contemplated a while, and decided that perhaps I would let God give me a free car wash. I’m so clever…and so lazy.

Later in the afternoon, I even did a FaceTime chat with my friends, and I was still in my pajamas. I did finally get dressed around 4pm. Not bad.

I made a few more phone calls, and received a few texts and calls. It crossed my mind that I probably should eat something, seeing as I only had about five cups of tea all day. But, it was after 7pm and a gloomy drizzly day, and I really needed to get out of the house before it got dark. I bundled up and crossed the street when it started to rain. Dang! Instead being disappointed, I just went back in the front door and grabbed my big Norte Dame umbrella. Oh yes, matching ND hooded jacket. Protective and stylish.

One thing I’ve found in all this isolation and chaos is that it’s smart not to change your routine and habits too much. Especially the good ones.

I only got in around 4,000 steps on my walk, but like my sweet mother-in-law used to say, “Better like nothing.” Well, it’s 8:30 pm and I should think about something to eat. Dinner last night consisted of ice cream in my Black Russian. I’ll try and do better tonight. Hmm? But, that does sound good.

Cheers, my friends.

Friday:) Finding Fun Things To Do and a Fiery Sunset

11 Apr

“Follow your instincts, be curious, dream big, love what you do, love learning, keep an open heart, and a strong spirit, have fun.”

~Anonymous

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It’s getting more difficult to get out of bed every morning. There’s no plan, no class, no lunch with the girls, no dancing or karaoke. There’s nothing to look forward to. It’s “Groundhog’s Day” every day.

I did a little organizing up in my “crap room,” but I can only take so much overwhelming chaos. It will take weeks and weeks of hard work and determination. I’ll keep you posted.

Then, there’s the endless hours I spend checking emails and looking at Facebook. You never know if there will be a new post or comment, so you need to check every three minutes, right? Sometimes that’s a good thing.

I saw a post reminding me that Maria had a Zoom Zumba class at 5. So, I logged in and managed to get through most of the fun hour before my knee gave up. Gracias Maria!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9_uvXv-B3A

I decided to try and take a little nap after that. Hmm? What else was there to do? I haven’t mastered the early evening nap yet. So, I got up and took a nice long walk. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to catch the fabulous fiery sunset. It always ignites my soul. God sure does know how to paint a magnificent masterpiece in the sky.

Happy Friday my friends. Cheers!