Archive | June, 2021

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

14 Jun

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”

~Florence Nightingale

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Well, the torrential rains have diminished for a while, but it’s toasty steamy hot outside. So, on this blessed Sunday, I thank God for air conditioning, iced tea and ice cream.

Today’s Gospel was the parable of the mustard seed, and the glorious mystery of how a seed is planted in the dirt and grows. Did you ever think about that? You plant a tiny seed in the ground, give it a little water, and it magically grows into something spectacular.

MARK 4:26-34

26And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,27and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

My take on it…like the mustard seed, never underestimate the power of something that appears tiny and insignificant. The seed is planted in the dark barren soil and magically becomes an amazing plant. People are like that too. In their darkest hour, buried and struggling in the earth, they can blossom and flourish.

(I can relate to that.)

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Saving Worms and Other Such Silliness

13 Jun

“Life is dear to every living thing; the worm that crawls upon the ground will struggle for it.”

Solomon Northup

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Did you ever notice that after the rain, there are all these poor worms on the scratchy concrete sidewalks trying to make their way back to the grass?

Oxygen diffuses easily through air, and the soil stays aerobic because oxygen comes in from the surface.” But after a rain, the soil pores and the worm burrows fill with water. … “The worms can’t get enough oxygen when the soil is flooded, so they come to the surface to breathe.”Jun 29, 2007

https://news.wisc.edu › curiosities-af…

But after the sun starts to shine again, those thirsty worms are in danger of getting trapped aboveground, as exposure to bright sunlight can temporarily paralyze them. “So, a worm comes to the surface while it’s raining, then the sun comes out and the water on the sidewalk evaporates quickly. The worm’s skin is getting drier and it can’t move because of the light, so it will dry up and die,” Sherman warned.

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The first time I encountered sad struggling worms on the sidewalk, I couldn’t stand to see them suffer. I also couldn’t stand the thought of picking up a slimy wiggly worm. But I thought to myself, “Self, how would you feel if you were desperately trying to get back to a safe place, but you were struggling in vain, crawling on hot gritty concrete with no hope of salvation?” So now, I bend down and pick up the exhausted member of the phylum Annelida, otherwise known as Lumbricina. I place them gently on the nearby grass in hopes that they will survive. It breaks my heart to see them suffer.

Speaking of hearts, did you know that worms don’t have just one heart? They have five hearts, not as complicated and fancy as ours, but still five. And Swedish scientist studying worms believe that they can feel pain. Thus, if you have a chance to save a worm from some pain, please, “Don’t go breaking their hearts.”

We have had SO much rain lately here in North Texas. I have saved many a wiggly worm. I don’t get squeamish any more, but I do flinch a little when they get startled and go into a crazy wiggling frenzy. I just talk nice to them and say, “It’s OK.” And NO, they don’t talk back to me. They are worms after all.

Flashback Friday:) Tommy and Mabel

12 Jun

“The best old songs are sung best by the best old singers.”

-Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I was just looking through my old videos and ran across this one of old Tommy. We haven’t seen old Tommy on the square in a long time. He was a wandering minstrel. I sure he’s ok. It’s been maybe 8 or more years. Have you seen Tommy?

https://youtu.be/VB8MU2iNAUo

Tommy and Mable

With silver hair and a crooked smile
Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile
As you tap your toes and start to sing along
He shares each word, and has lived each song
His guitar is closer than any family
And the road, the only home he’ll ever see
But he and Mable have a need to play
Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay
They’ve seen the whole country from east to west
And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best
Mable’s been signed by many a star
Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar
But the real country singer never settles down
‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

Toni Andrukaitis

Thankful Thursday:) Quiet Thoughts in Pencil

11 Jun

“ There is nothing more peaceful then quiet thoughts, an empty sanctuary, a sketch pad and a pencil.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A late night call to a friend going through a hard time, an early morning call about an old friend needing prayers, these are the the things that make you thankful and prayerful.

Last week when I went to St. Gabriel for Adoration, I decided to take a sketch pad and a pencil. I sat in the empty still sanctuary and sketched the large crucifix behind the alter. I thought this would be a great meditative and artistic endeavor. Indeed it was.

Today, I had some special prayers and thoughts that needed attention. I took my sketch pad after lunch, and went to the chapel for Adoration. Afterwards, I walked into the main sanctuary, but I was not alone, this time. Father Don was giving a tour to the new seminarian who will be joining our parish. Perfect timing. I interrupted Father’s description of the stained glass windows saying, “Father, last week I came to Adoration and sketched our crucifix. It’s a perfect form of meditation and talking to God. I would like you to have this.” Then, I presented him with my sketch.

It was a crude first attempt, and I’m not that great with the human form, but Father appreciates it, none the less.

After I lit my candle and said my prayers for my special intentions, I took out my sketch pad and started to pencil in one of the many gorgeous stained glass windows.

I heard some of what Father Don was saying about this one…Adam and Eve, Creation, the lion and the lamb, but I didn’t catch it all. I was busy drawing. There was a lady sitting near the front of the church who came over to see what I was doing. We struck up a long conversation, so I didn’t get a lot of sketching done. I was busy showing her some of my many paintings, glassware, poems, etc. on my phone. She asked what I did, so I showed her. 🤦‍♀️ Ah, a captive audience. Miss Sherry was impressed. A while later, Helene came in from the chapel and was introduced to my new friend. They chatted and I continued to draw. I made sure to take a photo because I’d have to finish the drawing at home.
Here is the finished pencil rendering. The nice part of my pencil sketch is, I put the finished drawing into my Artisto app on my iPad and played with all the different cool options. Here are a few. I really need to make some notecards with a few of my favorites….
I can’t decide which one I like the most. I guess I like them all.

I am so thankful for my God given talents, and the time to be quiet and meditate with pencil and paper.

What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

10 Jun

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, and the fridge and the stove and the microwave. Let’s just say, I love to cook.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Well, she was at it again. Can you say portion control? No, me neither. As you may or may not recall, my freezer was acting up and leaking all over the kitchen floor a couple of weeks ago. I took everything out and took a hair dryer to the vents, did some dusting and cleaning and said two “Our Father’s” and two “Hail Marys,” (Its a Catholic thing🤦‍♀️) Guess what? It’s been 10 days, and so far no more leaking. 🤞 Fingers crossed.

While I was taking inventory of things, I defrosted a few frozen mystery items to finally use. One large container had some homemade pasta sauce. Enough for one casserole dish, but I can’t cook just one. What’s the fun in that. I added a can of this and a jar of that and a pinch of some other stuff. Then I boiled two bags of penne pasta. Voila! Four containers of awesome delicious pasta. One for me and three to give away. (I added a lot more cheese after the photo op)

I can make four meals in the same amount of time as one meal, so why not share!

My favorite addition is topping the pasta with shredded cheese, some Monterey Jalapeño Jack for a little zing and some mozzarella for the Italian flavor. Then, bake until the cheese gets bubbly.
I picked up a loaf of jalapeño cheddar focaccia bread, toasted it with some butter and garlic powder. You’re getting hungry now, aren’t you?

I still have enough for a few more meals for myself and was able to share with friends. Lucky me, lucky friends. Ciao!

Toni’s Tuesday True-time Video:) Easy Painting red Roses on a Glass Vase

9 Jun

“Everything’s coming up roses. Well, at least on my glass vases. I love to paint roses, but not great at growing roses.”

“Handmade from the heart ❤️ is always the best.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My friend Miss Pat received some lovely flowers from her daughter for Mother’s Day. When they had all faded away, she was left with a nice clear glass vase. She asked me if I’d kindly paint some red roses on the vase so she could have a special remembrance. She already had a yellow rose and Bluebonnet vase , but no red roses. The vases would match her wine glasses that were a gift painted by yours truly a few years back.

This gave me an incentive to paint. While I was at it and the paint was handy, I decided to paint 10 vases all together. I also needed a birthday gift for Miss Linda today. A good time to build up my gift inventory.

Here’s a quick video demonstration…

https://youtu.be/SC9YhKpjs18

The finished products. There were many steps and many hours involved, but well worth the effort, as you can see.
I start out with a bunch of blank clear glass vases and ivy bowls. They get wiped down with alcohol to remove dust and fingerprints. I use FolkArt Enamel Paint that is made for glass. I paint one layer on all the vases, then by the time I get done with the tenth, the first is dry enough to add a second layer.
I let the paint dry at least overnight, sometimes a whole day. Then, I bake in a 350° oven (no preheat) for 30 minutes, turn off oven, but don’t open oven door for several hours so they can cool down slowly. This heat sets the paint.
(Miss Pat’s vase is the one front and center.)
For Miss Linda, I decided a nice ivy bowl with a flickering tea light would make a nice birthday gift.
I like unusual shaped glass vessels to paint on. It makes them unique, many of my glass items have been given to me by friends who know that they will be transformed into something special.
Aren’t these pretty! You can see why I love to take something ordinary, or a discarded thrift store find, and turn it into a lovely work of art.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Rainy Soggy Peek

8 Jun

“We had so much rain lately, that I saw Noah sail past my backyard on the Ark, but he wouldn’t stop, not even for my famous brownies.”

~Toni Armenta Amdrukaitis

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Well, the rain stopped for a little while this afternoon, but a chance of more tomorrow. Ugh!

Here’s a week in a peek…

Even all this rain and gloomy weather can’t bring me down. There’s too much to be thankful for. Feeling blessed.

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

7 Jun

“It’s what you choose to believe that makes you the person you are.”
― Karen Marie Moning

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Woa! We had more torrential rain all last night, with thunder and lightening. Forget about building the Ark. I need a canoe. Well, the weather forecast says more rain Monday and Tuesday, but after that, the rest of the week back to regular Texas weather. Sunny, hot, humid and in the 90’s. I’m not sure which is worse. 🤦‍♀️

Today’s Gospel tells the story of when Jesus was with the disciples and blessed the bread and wine, saying it was His body.

Gospel – Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”13 He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.14 Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘15 Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”16 The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.22 While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

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Father Danika’s had a very good analogy. Just as we need food to strengthen our bodies, we need the Eucharist to strengthen our souls. Every time we receive the Eucharist, Jesus becomes part of our spirit as well as our body.

My take on it… what we believe to be true is true. What a nice way to have Jesus become part of our spirit and daily lives.

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So, the other stuff is today is my beautiful angel mother’s birthday in heaven. She went to heaven in 2018, but she is with me every day, guiding me, smiling at me, and looking out for me. I know this to be true. She has sent me signs, so I know that there is a heaven and she’s there waiting for me.

Happy birthday Mom!

Saturday:) Somethin’ Is Rotten in the State of Denmark- Actually, In the Fridge

5 Jun

“I don’t have a green thumb, can’t grow flowers, but I can grow awesome mold and fungus. Just sayin’”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Well, remember how I pulled out my big side-by-side Whirlpool fridge, Winona, defrosted her, and took a hairdryer to the vents on Monday? Well, the good news is that it hasn’t leaked again… yet. Fingers crossed.

The freezer part got all emptied, cleaned out, and organized, but I didn’t get to the fridge part. I didn’t need to defrost that side. After all, it wasn’t too full or messy, right? Well, WRONG! This is just one of the items I discovered in the vegetable bin, hidden under the cream cheese, tortillas, questionable apples, and dehydrated limes.

Scary, right? See, I CAN grow something… mold, lots of mold, (Don’t Judge me. It was hiding under stuff.) OK, maybe I’ll tackle the fridge this week. Maybe?

As for my green thumb, or lack there of, I went to Home Depot yesterday to return something and decided to pick up a few little flowers for my front reclaimed planter stand. (Elke next door had it out by the trash last year and I Grabbed it, repurposed it, painted it and put it in front of my house.)

Home Depot had all kinds of pretty flower planters and arrangements, but they were all $20 or $30 each. My philosophy is… I’m going to kill them sooner than later, so why spend so much money for a few weeks. (They call them ANNUALS, I call them WEEKLYS.)
I bought 6 individual little flowers at $1.58 each and I already had 2 small green bushy kinda things from before the big freeze, that I didn’t kill. I had put them in the garage during the freeze. Today, I placed them all in some recycled plastic spinach containers and arranged them like this. The cute yellow flower in the metal bucket that Sherri Murphy gave me last month, well, that died, but the cute red metal flower marker survived and added a nice flare.

Any bets on how long these pretty flowers will last? I think Las Vegas is taking odds at two weeks. I’m being optimistic and going for 4th of July. I’ll keep ya posted.

I hope you’re having a good Saturday. I doubt if I’ll get in an evening walk. I keep hearing thunder and the sky is getting dark. just what we need… more rain, NOT!

Friday:) Fury Friends, Food, Fluffy Clouds and a Fiery Sunset

5 Jun

“It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens.”—Cynthia E. Varnado

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Well, I was kitty sitting for Miss Kathy last week. She’s back home now, but Sammi sits outside on my front lawn and comes running when I open the door. Then, he throws himself on my feet and waits for a little scratch on the belly.
Juno, comes over too. What can I say, I’m the animal whisperer of McKinney.
When I’m not whispering with kittens, I’m sharing food with friends. Last night, I made a batch of my famous “bad ass brownies” for Helene to take over to her son’s house this afternoon. She told him how awesome they were, so I baked them a few for her visit. Then, of course, they needed some of my black eyed pea salsa.

On my evening walk, the clouds were strange, some fluffy and some just bizarre.

Look at this weird one. What does it look like to you? At first, I thought maybe an elephant standing up on his hind feet.
And just a few minutes later, the fiery red sunset.

Thank goodness it’s Friday…

Cheers!