Archive | September, 2021

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and My Trailblazing Sister, Jo Ann Armenta

30 Sep

“A sister is God’s way of proving He doesn’t want us to walk alone.”



My sister, Jo Ann Armenta, was recently interviewed by John Garcia of Chicago Channel 7 ABC News. My trailblazing sister was the first Latina Illinois State Police Officer, leading the way and supporting other women and Hispanics in law enforcement. She spent a long distinguished career in law enforcement and continues to represent and support her heritage and community. I am so proud of you JO.

Check out the interview (below) on the news yesterday.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) — As a state police investigator JoAnn Armenta worked on some of the most high profile cases in Illinois history.

They included the murder of 10-year old Jeanine Nicarico in Naperville and the Tylenol poisoning murders that led to new safety seals on nearly everything we buy. She also worked on the rape case involving Gary Dotson who became the first to gain freedom after DNA evidence proved his innocence.

All that came after Armenta made history herself as the first Latina officer in Illinois State Police history.
“I don’t know if I was stubborn or stupid but I stuck it out. The more they said I couldn’t do it, the more I dug in,” said Armenta.

And Armenta said there were a lot of people who said she couldn’t do it. Who doubted her ability

“I was good at what I was doing and I was sorely disappointed that my efforts weren’t valued,” said Armenta.

Nevertheless, Armenta said she has tried to serve as a role model for other women, specifically Latinas in law enforcement. She once took a whole group of girls along for Take Your Daughter to Work Day.
Juan Valenzuela started a Latinos in Law enforcement group and has been a supporter of Armenta’s for years.

“She was the pioneer, she as the first mover for Latinas within the state police and it opened up a pathway for those who had the same vision of making a difference,” said Valenzuela.

After more than two decades with the state police Armenta is now enjoying retirement. She spends much of her time working on a book about women in Illinois Law Enforcement. She says her struggles to succeed in a male-dominated career were real but she hopes she and others have helped ease the way for women today.

“I always knew I had to be better, faster, more creative and not make mistakes,” Armenta said.

Even after retiring, JoAnn continues to be active in her community. I am so proud of my sister who not only represents her Latina heritage, but epitomizes what a genuinely good person should look like.

Tuesday Day:) Twice Blessed~Two Sons

28 Sep

“Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged.”

~Louisa May Alcott


“I smile because you’re my Son; I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it!”

(Unknown) -But I could have written this. 🤦‍♀️


I have two terrific sons, so I need two quotes. The first one I hope resonates true with my sons. I hope my sons never question my unconditional love for them, and I hope they will always be happy. The second is true and humorous. I am their mother and there is nothing they can do about it. They’re stuck with me. 🤦‍♀️

There was some controversy on what is the actual National Sons Day for this year on Facebook. Some folks thought it was yesterday, so I looked it up. Well, there were three different choices, so I picked today. My sons, my choice.

When is National Son Day 2021 in the United States?

28th September (Tuesday) is the National Sons Day 2021. We celebrate 28 September as the National Son Day in the US and also some other countries.


This is how I see my amazing sons. They will always be my little boys.
They may be all grown up and wonderful men, but I still see those babies. It’s a Mamma thing. ❤️❤️
Happy Sons Day from a Happy Mother!

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

28 Sep

“The only way for writers to meet is to share a quick peek over a common lamp-post.”

~Cyril Connolly


I like that quote. It seems like you can share your inner soul, your entire world, and all your joys or fears with total strangers or close friends with just a few words “over a common lamp-post,” or with a few photos.

Here’s my week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and JUST BE KIND

26 Sep

“There are many benefits to being Catholic. When you go to Confession, your sins are forgiven. (With contrition, of course.) When you go to Mass, all that standing, kneeling, sitting, and making the sign of the cross twenty times is very good aerobic exercise, and they feed you bread and wine. When you pray for others, your soul is lifted. And, when you say grace before a meal, all the calories are taken away. (The last one is just wishful thinking.)

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, I didn’t get up at 7 am to get ready for Mass today. That’s another benefit of being Catholic. If you go to Saturday evening service, you don’t have to go on Sunday, too. Last night was our big 25th Anniversary Celebration after 5 o’clock Mass. So, this morning, I slept in and lounged around in my pajamas till well after noon. 🤦‍♀️

Therefore, today’s Gospel is the same as yesterday’s. This is the story of the disciple John telling Jesus about someone using His name to cast out demons. John was upset. I love this awesome quote, “For he that is not against us is for us.”…

38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. 40For he that is not against us is for us. 41For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward. 42″Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

My take on it… Wow! The quote about “For he that is not against us is for us,” is so perfect. We should all just get along. You do your thing, I do my thing, and stop ✋ telling other people how to live and that they are wrong when they are not harming any one. If you are doing good things and helping others, it doesn’t matter whose name, what incentive, or what cause you proclaim, it’s GOOD, and it’s KIND. JUST BE KIND!

There are several movements, books, and programs out there promoting KINDNESS. We can all do our part, one kind word at a time, and one kind deed at a time.

I have been tempted SO MANY times to comment when people say and do unkind things. There is so much negativity, trash talking, and ugly jokes out there about politics, the Covid controversies, our government, and our community. The resulting effects are contempt and chaos, brother against brother, and friend against friend.

I’ve been pretty quiet until NOW. Now, my comments will expressed, my voice will be heard, and you don’t have to agree with it. I only have ONE THING TO SAY!

“JUST BE KIND!” My angel mother always used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it.” So, Who’s with me???? Instead of attacking someone verbally or in writing, “JUST BE KIND!” When someone posts something mean or nasty on social media, you can comment by writing, “JUST BE KIND!” You can add a smiley face 😊 or a heart ♥️ or a hug 🤗. Let’s continue spreading the JUST BE KIND movement.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday Celebration At St. Gabriel’s~ 25th Anniversary

26 Sep

“Life is a celebration. Consider everything that makes you happy as a gift from God and say, ‘Thank you.”
― Francis Lucille


This evening after the 5 o’clock Mass, the parishioners of St. Gabriel the Archangel celebrated their 25th Anniversary. There usually is a church picnic in the fall, but this was a good time to have an anniversary celebration. Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Kelly presided over the Mass, seeing as he was the original pastor 25 years ago, it was an honor for him and the parishioners.

A lot of volunteers and donors provided a wonderful outdoor celebration complete with tents, DJ, fun activities for the kids, free food and drinks. Last Sunday, they announced the reminder… “And free beer and wine, I repeat, free beer and wine.”

Father Don, our Pastor, thanked everyone, especially Bishop Kelly for making St. Gabe’s such a wonderful family.
Bishop Kelly enjoyed visiting his old stomping grounds and talking to old friends. The once small parish he started 25 years ago now has over 4,000 families. And you know those Catholics. They have a lot of kids.
It was nice to run into old friends, and see new faces and families.
Talk about old friends. Fire Station 5 had a truck and EMS vehicle there. I said, “Hi guys, it’s Miss Toni.” The reply was, “Oh, the lady that brings us all the goodies all the time.” The truck was for the kids to admire and ring the bell, and I guess the EMS vehicle was for any medical emergencies or for all those free beer and wine overindulges. (Just kidding?) Catholics don’t drink much…haha.

It was a lovely evening, and I feel blessed to be part of the St. Gabriel Family.

Friday Friends and Food and Fun Art at Towne Creek

25 Sep

“Friday friends are the best.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I know the days go by fast and the weeks slip away, but the entire month sort of flashed before my eyes. Today was our Towne Creek Young At Heart Art Group.

Helene and I prepared a lot of fun food and beverages and snacks, and I prepared some artsy projects to work on. Seeing as it is Hispanic Heritage month, I decided we could work on the Dia de Los Muertos coloring page. McKinney is going to have their first annual event on the Square this year. I’m very excited because I’m going to be one of The judges for the costume contest. Cool!

Food preparation at my house. Sandwiches, hot dogs, pudding, popcorn snack medley, and ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. Helene brought bags of chips, fresh strawberries and cheese dip and crackers. (We get carried away,)
Miss Kathy’s page turned out so awesome. The dried rose hanger and black ribbon added to the theme.
Miss Bonnie had fun with bright colors. She was so sweet, she gave me her finished project.
We even got Miss Helene to make a funny face.
Miss Linda chose to paint a little trinket box instead of the skull. It kinda made her nervous.
A nice prayer of thanks and time for our feast.Ha

Pay Friday, my friends. I hope you had a fun and fine day too.

Throwback Thursday:) Cookie Monster in Spanish. Monstruo de las Galletas

24 Sep

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”

~ Barbara Johnson


Wow! Did you know that Cookie Monster is 55 years old? His birthday is November 2. He looks pretty good for his age. Must be all the clean livin’ and lots of cookies.

1966 . Cookie Monster constantly eats anything and everything, but cookies are his favorite. Cookie Monster evolved from a monster created by Jim Henson for a General Foods Canada commercial in 1966. This character advertised the snack foods Wheels, Crowns, and Flutes along with two other monsters and was known as the Wheel Stealer. The puppet was created in 1969 for Sesame Street.

For instance, Sesame Street’s lovable cookie-devouring Cookie Monster has a real first name, and it isn’t Cookie: it’s Sid.


This afternoon, I met with my little Spanish/English practice group, Los Charlatintos. We try to meet once a week for conversation and practice. Some of us work on our Spanish and others on their English. I guess I need to practice both.

Today, my assignment was to lead a little discussion on art, painting, or drawing. I found a cute and short video in Spanish that demonstrated how to draw a Cookie Monster face. I sent the video out last week with words to practice or become familiar with like lápiz, goma de borrar, azul, galleta , etc. ( Pencil, eraser, blue, Cookie.)

Instead of just a discussion, I brought paper, colored pencils and a clipboard, and we drew step-by-step, a Cookie Monster Face. We practiced saying all the 12 colors in the pencil box. There were many words I wasn’t sure of, so Ubaldo assisted with those. It was fun. Hands on learning.

Pretty good for a first attempt. Nice drawing. Bonito dibujo.
Great job. This one looks very happy. Muy feliz.
Self portrait, perhaps? Autorretrato tal vez?
“Me love cookies!” “ Me encantan las galletas.”

Words to live by… “Make learning fun and eat more cookies!”

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom on My Walk

23 Sep

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” — Helen Keller


While I was on my walk, I noticed someone had written some words of wisdom and inspiration with colorful chalk on the sidewalks along the path by the pond. I found it very clever and consoling. Someone or a few someones made an effort to share some clever words for whoever walked that way…

My Poem… Sidewalk Words of Wisdom

I found some words of wisdom, along my walk today.

There scrawled upon the sidewalk, in chalks, pink, blue, and grey.

The thoughts expressed were hopeful, inspirational, and fun.

“You are Kind, You can do this, and Be Nice to Everyone.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

Toni’s Tuesday Tip of the Day:) When You Hear the Music… Just Dance!

21 Sep

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche


I don’t know about you, but when I hear a great song, I have to dance and groove and sway. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the mustard aisle at Kroger or swaying to a hymn at church. I have no control over my actions.

I was at Kroger this afternoon and I heard one of the songs that was on my son’s cd gift give away from his wedding 6 years ago. Still in my soul, I just started groovin’ in the grocery store.

If you want to hear the song, I dare you to listen to The whole thing and restrain yourself from dancing. ( Michael Jackson… Lobe Never Felt So Good.)

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

21 Sep

“Just when I think I’ve run out of things to write about, I wake up, start my day, and there are endless possibilities.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A week in a peek… that’s it….that’s all I’ve got today. My Monday was too crazy to even begin talking about.

Thank goodness for photos from the family. I miss these little angels.