Archive | January, 2022

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

31 Jan

An absolutely beautiful Sunday morning, sun shining, light jacket, and no sock monkey hat. I scurried off to church, lit my candle, ran over to catch the ladies to greet them after getting off the Chateau bus, and escorted Miss Vi to her seat.

You know what I love about our Catholic Mass and our church? I love the tradition, the beautiful reverent songs, but most of all, I love to see the young families, holding hands, smiling and participating. There was a family of six sitting a few rows in front of me. The three boys had bright red hair and the little girl had blond hair like mommy. They all sang along and recited all the memorized prayers. The littlest red-headed boy, who couldn’t be more than five or six years old, sang along and recited every prayer while mommy stroked his back and showed him how proud she was. Heck, I was proud of him, and I didn’t even know the family. Beautiful!

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus speaking in the synagogue, and was not warmly accepted, even threatened…

From the Gospel according to Luke
Lk 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

My take on it… sometimes the people you are closest to will be the first to deny you and betray you and try to hurt you.


After Mass, we stopped at McD for our ritual coffee and hot chocolate. Jerry, Helene, and I are the three after Mass amigos.

Later, Helene and I stopped at Tom Thumb to pick up a few things.

I did a few things at home, took some brownies over to my neighbors on either side, then went for a lovely evening walk.

Beautiful sunset.

Then the granddaughters made a FaceTime call. They were running around, and goofy, and silly. Mommy sent me a cute photo of them playing in the snow earlier in the afternoon.

Another perfect Sunday.

Saturday:) Sunshine, Inspiration and Determination

30 Jan

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.”

Les Brown


Wow! It was beautiful sunny Saturday. I spent over a couple of hours listening to Day 5 of the Tony Robbins Ultimate Breakthrough. I took notes and did a lot of learning. It was getting late by the time I was done, so I put on my walking shoes before dark. It’s good thinking time.

One of the many things I’ve learned or confirmed is determination. I’ve been walking just about every day for over 30 years. It could be cold, hot, snowing or raining, and I’m out there. It’s called determination.

From my Tony Robbins podcast… “Set a goal, commit to follow through, then schedule it.” When I went for my walk, I walked out the door and noticed a lot of leaves and little acorns in the grass. I’ve told myself for weeks that I should rake and sweep them up. So today, I set a goal, committed, then scheduled the clean up as soon as I got back from my walk.

I walked around the pond several times, and pushed myself to get at least 4,000 steps. Done!
As soon as I got home, I put on my work gloves and I raked up and swept up a couple of piles of yucky little leaves and tiny acorns. I even did a little raking on the neighbors lawn. I felt accomplished. The bonus was, I even got a few extra steps in. Win-win.

Another one of my favorite quotes that really impressed me today is…”The secret to living is giving.”

You’re never too old to learn, dream, believe, and achieve. My words. Words to live by.

Happy Saturday!

Friday:) Friends At Towne Creek and My Firemen

29 Jan

“Today is Friday, I’m exhausted and life is good.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another fun day with my senior artist friends at Towne Creek. We had a blast.

A lot of Valentines Day projects.

After all that hard work painting, we look for warped to our feast.

Lots of snacks and desserts, it we also had homemade potato-corn chowder and Helene made egg salad sandwiches.

A wonderful busy day with my lovely senior artist friends at Towne Creek.

Then of course, a visit to my firefighters at Station 9.

Thankful Thursday:) Always Find Something

27 Jan

“We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning.”

Albert Barnes


Of ALL the words of wisdom or pieces of advice on how to be happy that I’ve learned in over 6 decades on this planet, the NUMBER ONE thing is just one word…GRATITUDE. There’s always something to be thankful for.

What you focus on is what you see. If you are focused on the negative and all the bad things that have happened to you or that will happen in the future, that’s all you see. That’s who you become. As Tony Robbins says, that negativity becomes your state of mind or your identity. So if you look at dark threatening clouds and see beauty, or rain for the crops, or you don’t have to water the lawn, then pretty soon you see the rainbow.

One way I use to keep on a positive track is journaling. It’s not a gratitude journal. It’s just me writing down what I did each day. Usually it’s fun positive things, sometimes it’s venting. But, it’s always who I am, and I can look back and see how far I’ve come.

The journal on the left, otherwise know as a spiral notebook covers from September 2004 until June of 2016. Just one line a day to sum up what happened. The first notebook got full, so the one on the right continues from June 2016 until now. Just one line. It takes less than two minutes a day. It’s very satisfying. Also, it’s a good record of my life. I can tell you what I did October 12th 2004 or what I did yesterday. Believe me, when you get old, this is very helpful. 🤦‍♀️

Another way to cultivate my gratitude is right here. I write my blog every day. I share my ups and downs, what I’ve learned and meeting new friends and visiting old friends. I started writing this blog on January 1, 2013. Unbeknownst to me, six months later, I discovered the worst betrayal of my life and a devastating divorce proceeded. But, I kept writing… every day… writing. The writing kept me grounded. You can think and feel, but when you write, it becomes a story. I have been writing a blog post every day for over 9 years. I can always find something to be thankful for and share.

Thank you ALL. You know who you are.

Some other ways to cultivate gratitude from our friends at Harvard…

Ways to cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself. (I am SO bad at this one,🤦‍♀️)

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

For more from this Harvard report…

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom From My Fabulous Facebook Friends & A Few From Tony Robbins

27 Jan

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I always get inspired by the many quotes and words of wisdom that my Facebook friends share. Hopefully, they will inspire you too.

I think my favorite one of these is …”Just because you had some bad chapters in your life doesn’t mean the story can’t end well. Turn the page and never look back.”

Now, let’s see… a few quotes from my Day Two of my Tony Robbins Breakthrough Challenge.

“Focus equals feeling.” ~ So, What you focus on the most is how you’re going to feel.

“Meaning equals emotions.” Your language creates meaning. So how you talk and act sets you up for how you’re going to feel and how others perceive you.

“Virtuous cycle instead of vicious cycle.” Use your life for the betterment of mankind and you live a better life. It all comes back to reward you.

Okay, there was a whole lot more, but you get the drift.

Tuesday:) Toni and Tony Robbins:) The Ultimate Breakthrough Challenge 2022

26 Jan

“If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. If you schedule it, it’s real.”

~Tony Robbins


If you know me, you know that I’m always searching. I want to keep learning, teaching, creating, challenging, loving, sharing, writing, and growing until the day I die. (I’m my mother’s daughter.❤️)

I’ve listened to hundreds of speakers, instructors, clergy, webinars and podcasts over the last two crazy Covid years. Tony Robbins is just one of the many motivational speakers who has influenced me. So, when I heard about this 5 day challenge, I signed up. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d either love it and learn a lot, or I’d hate it and just shut it off. It’s free, and I have free will. Some people get turned off by certain voices, exuberance, or annoying snake oil salesmanship, but I listen to the message and glean what I feel useful.

Mr. Robbins has motivated millions of people, from presidents to famous athletes to movie stars, to grocery clerks and janitors. So, why not me? Why not you?

The Day 1 challenge started at 1pm, central time. He kept slamming it down until 3:45.

Some folks might not appreciate his jump up and down, wave your arms, and scream when excited technique. But, to each his own. Tony explains when your body is excited and activated, it motivates your brain. Makes sense. Would you be motivated by an old man with a gray beard who sits in a cushy chair and whispers, “Let’s get motivated and change your life. Now, close your eyes and make it happen?”
One challenge is to write down a time when you struggled and changed. What was the trigger that made it possible? Maybe you didn’t have one, but are going through a challenge now.

I took a lot of notes. That’s another thing I’ve learned from several other speakers. Writing things down increases your ability to retain that information so much more than just listening.

NOTES: Patterns and habits become automatic. If you want to change…

1, Recognize patterns. See what works and what doesn’t. 2. Pattern utilization. How to use it and enhance it. 3. Pattern creation. You need to creat a high energy. When in low energy, you say and do things that ruin your life and relationships.

Where does energy come from? Not food, or sleep or medicine. Energy is a physical habit using movement and sound to change your body with your mind. Instead of your brain saying I should, your brain says I do.

“Complexity is the enemy of execution.” Make it simple.

Our story is how we see ourselves and how others see us. If you don’t like your story, YOU can change it. It takes work, it it can be done.

“Knowledge is NOT power, execution is power.” You can know all the tips and tricks, but if you don’t do anything about it, you don’t change. Your mind controls your story. If you think about all the medical studies with placebos, and how people believe they are taking life changing medications, they often heal with a sugar pill. The brain is an amazing tool that we need to utilize more efficiently.

During the workshop, we did several interesting visual and physical challenges, too long to describe here.

Here are the four archetypes in all of us, and we need to have each of these cooperate with the other. One exercise was to touch the part of your body
that expresses your warrior, magician, lover, or sovereign. For example, the warrior clenches his fists and grunts, saying to the magician, “I’ll use my muscles and you use your magic.” What sound does it make? How would it talk to the magician, the lover, or the sovereign? Then, proceed to the next. All interacting together for the betterment of each.

The closing was our homework or challenge. What has the story of your life been about? What is our role, what emotions or obstacles got in the way? That was your old story. What will your new story be like?

“Change your story, change your life.”

Over 757,000 people from all around the world heard this same message today. Perhaps if we all change our stories for the better, we can change our lives and make the world a better place.

Thank you Tony Robbins. See ya tomorrow.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

24 Jan

“Photos help you remember and relive those beautiful moments or share precious time with loved ones far away or who aren’t around anymore,”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Every Monday, I get to look back at my week and relive a spectacular seven days. I guess that’s why I take so many pictures. Amazing people and places and things need to be immortalized, even if it’s just for me.

A week in an awesome peek…

This photo from 5 years ago popped up on my Facebook memories today. I smile, I cry, and I remember. Mom is gone, but this photo will keep this moment alive in my heart, ❤️

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

23 Jan

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”- Albert Schweitzer


Another lovely Sunday morning. The sun was shining, but it was only in the 30’s°. Yay! Another chance to wear my sock monkey hat to church. When I arrived, the sun was gleaming so boldly behind the steeples. I quick got out my phone to take a picture. Later, when I looked at it, I had captured a large portion of my big ol’ thumb, but I edited it out.

Today’s Gospel tells about Jesus reading in the temple…

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

My take on it…Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, and was healing the sick and blind, and doing great works. Not only was He fulfilling the prophecy, but teaching by His example how to live. We are asked to continue His works by our example and our own lives.

********After Mass, a quick coffee and stop at the grocery store. On my drive home, I was going down Stonebridge Drive, and thought, “I’m going right past Lynne’s house, and I should stop by. I haven’t seen her in months.” I didn’t call ahead, and I didn’t know if she was even home. When I pulled up in the driveway, I called. She said hello, and I told her I was in her driveway, so she said come on in. We had a very nice visit.

Plus, she had a birthday gift for me. MORE GIFTS! When I got home, I unwrapped my lovely gifts and celebrated with a cup of tea and Vicky’s birthday Baklava. 🤦‍♀️

A super nice Sunday so far. I have laundry in the dryer, going to take a walk, and I’m going to celebrate another awesome day. You know why? Because…. I AM AMAZING!

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday at SPARC:) Empty Bowls Project

22 Jan

“When given a special gift, you are obliged to share it with others.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


McKinney has the most amazing and talented artist and residents. The coordinators and volunteers of the annual Empty Bowls charity event are busy all year long, preparing for the upcoming May 12th event.

Local artists were asked to creatively glaze large bowls that were thrown by local talented potters. It’s a cooperative of amazing artists who team up to make and donate beautiful Bowls that will be auctioned on May 12th.

Minda Macias, who is coordinating the artists, gave me a call, asking if I’d like to participate. I’ve been involved since the beginning of the Empty Bowls in McKinney. Of course, I’d be hurt if I wasn’t included.

I picked up my bowl and glazes at SPARC, which stands for St. Peter’s Artist Run Community. Minda and her daughter Alex were hard at work, throwing bowls and setting up artists with glazes and bowls that they were picking up for decorating.

Alex is such a talented young lady. I am the proud owner of many of her beautiful pieces.
I glazed my bowl with several coats of my signature roses, inside and out. When it gets fired, it will be more vibrant in color.
About 45 minutes later…. Voila! Done and ready for firing.

A few of the bowls waiting for firing submitted by local artists.

My friend Lynne Weinberger did this one. Cool!
Here’s one of my donations from last year. I need to get working on another glass bowl with yellow roses. My favorite.

A fun Saturday. Now, I need to get out for a walk before the sun goes down. Adios!

Friday:) Friends, Fine Food, Firemen and a Fire Ant

22 Jan

“When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends.”

— Barbara Bush


Originally, I was supposed to have lunch with my neighbor Kathy today, but she had a work thing came up, so I was free as a bird. After procrastinating away the entire morning, I gave Helene a call, and told her I was going to run over to St. Gabriel for Adoration around 3. So, we met up there for some quiet prayer and to light a candle.

After I lit my candle, I noticed a pesky ant crawling on the stone floor. Oh no! I just didn’t have the heart to smoosh him, especially inside church. 🐜 So, I found an receipt in my purse, coerced the ant to crawl up so I could take him outside. Done! I know, crazy, right?

After a few errands, I got home just in time to catch the UPS truck. I saw him down the street, but never thought he’d stop at my house. I don’t get a lot of packages. But, my doorbell rang, and yes, a package for me from my friend Vicky Hodi.

I knew what was inside even before I opened it. She knows how I love her homemade baklava. She made me a big batch when I was in Chicago last month. I’m still working off those calories. Whenever I eat one, I always say to myself, “Darn you, Vicky Hodi!” Then, I send her a photo, then eat another. 🤦‍♀️

Well, I’m just getting around to Writing about my visit to my fire station. Miss Pat made a couple of bundt cakes for a birthday celebration, and made extra for my fire station.

Thank you, Miss Pat.
The firefighters at Station 9 appreciated the goodies.

Well, it’s been a great day and a great week. Happy Friday, my friends.

It’s Black Russian Friday. Cheers!