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Second Saturday on the Square: McKinney Rocks

9 Mar

“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
― Stephen Sondheim

McKinney, music, and making memories. Second Saturday on the Square always rocks. I can spend an entire day going from place to place, listening to the great musicians, young old, singing their hearts out.

Young Jaden Farnsworth serenaded us at Snug on the square in the afternoon. Later, my writing group, Mandy, Julia and Liz and ai met at Lone Star Winery for wine, cheese and singing along with Mike Allyn. Then the perfect sweet ending to a great day of fun and friends at Sweet Spot Bakery with John Wynn and a whole bunch of jammin’ friends.

Mike Allyn

Jaden Farnsworth

Mike Allyn

John Wynn and friends at Sweet Spot bakery.

Another great Saturday. I CAN fly!

Tuesday Tea Time and Tunes

19 Feb

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
And what an agreeable afternoon we had. You never know who is going to walk in the door during Tuesday Tea Time, Treats and Tunes at McKinney’s Sweet Spot Bakery. Miss Kay brought her ukelele again this week, and the gorgeous weather found us sitting outside a while, serenading passers-by and local motorists.

Our weekly tea time venue is really taking off. Miss Kathy and Miss Elizabeth are providing a fun place on the square for folks to enjoy an afternoon singing and sipping tea or coffee, enjoying a sampler of yummy desserts, and spending time with friends.

It’s difficult to refrain from tapping your toe and singing along. Miss Kathy not only has a beautiful voice, but she taught us a few line dancing moves later.
Everyone tried their hand at an easy-breezy Zentangle art project. I provided the supplies and a few words of encouragement, and the ladies went to town creating the most fabulous Toni-tangles. Yes, I gave it my own name. Zentangle is just a fancy form of doodling. It’s all the rage. Great job gals!

A few of the ladies that joined us. Hi!!!

Jacquie and and Margie created these masterpieces in less than an hour…first timers…pretty cool!


Mandy was amazing, another first, but probably not the last.

Miss Kay didn’t think hers was that great, but look at this people, it is fantastic. She said she’s not an artist. Ha! Yes she is.

A good time was had by all. Can’t wait to see what next week will bring to the “ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Wednedsay Words of Wisdom: Communty

13 Feb

“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth
I’m not sure where I fall in the category in afore mentioned quote. I like to do a lot and I like to talk about it. I guess I just like to talk and write, oh yes, and meet people, make friends, and get involved in my communty.

Yesterday was an example of a whirlwind busy day. I started off with a fun-filled Zumba class at my local YMCA. I’ve made some wonderful friends here.The upbeat Latin music and vigorous dance moves had me pumped for the whole day.

I ran home, well, actually drove, popped a batch of brownies in the oven for the potluck at 5:30 while I took a shower.

Of course, I usually make a funny face before mixing up the brownie batter. Doesn’t everyone?

Then, I went off to Sweet Spot Bakery for the special Tuesday Tea Time at 12. We had a hoot singing songs, sipping tea, tasting yummy treats and creating a fun valentine card.

Instead of driving back home, I just hung out at Sweet Spot on the Square until 5:30pm. It was the monthly meeting of McKinney Creative Community that meets the second Tuesday of every month. (Check it out on Facebook if you’re interested.) I thought for sure that it would get cancelled or have a poor turn out, but the threatening storm and freezing drizzle didn’t deter anyone.

McKinney Creative Community is an open group of artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc. who gather to share good food, good company, and community support. After our pot luck dinner, we gather, introduce ourselves for any new members, and share what’s new and good in our life. This is a true example of community. These are the people “who make the community live.”

Wasn’t that a fun busy day in McKinney?

Sunday:Sermons and Sunsets

13 Jan

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
This is an amazing quote. If only I could write such profound prose to stir the souls and senses of mankind. Perhaps one day I will, but for now, I am content to share my joys and sorrows with my simple words, poorly constructed sentences, and less than perfect punctuation. After all, it’s a blog, not Emily Dickinson.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend with my sons. Today being Sunday, I was filled with that nagging ingrained Catholic guilt. Not so much because it was Sunday, but because there was a Catholic Church right across the street from Matt’s place. The bells ring every morning from several different churches within a couple mile radius. But really…just out his front window…guilt…guilt…and more guilt! I was up early anyway. Could it have been from all the ringing of bells since 6am?

St. Helen’s is a beautiful traditional Catholic Church nestled in the Ukrainian Village section of Chicago. With vibrant stained glass windows, well-worn wooden pews, and gilded golden adornments, the interior evokes reverence and reflection. (Hey, that sounded kinda prose-like, didn’t it?)

Today’s sermon was about baptism, and Father Frank reminded us that we must take our faith seriously, long after that initial sacrament. Families should live their faith every day. An amazing thing happened while we all stood for the Gospel. Just when Father began, a brilliant beam of red light pierced through the rear stained glass window and caressed my face. Call me silly, but it felt like a sign from above and it shone just for me. It was God’s way of giving my a ray of hope and the gift of love. After Mass, I lit a candle and thanked The Lord for His blessings.

After church, I packed up to go back to Mom’s, then Matt took me out for breakfast. Afterwards, we picked Joe up, went to visit Auntie Ann, stopped by to hug dearest Mike and Shirley from the old neighborhood, then off to deposit me at Mom’s place. Many, many miles were covered, hugs and kisses shared, and a glorious sunset finalized a long day of reminiscing.

As the quotes says…
“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
Yes, I did that today!


Saturday: Sun and Fun on the Square

29 Dec

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
― Helen Keller
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday. No way was I going to sit in the house all day. Our writing group wasn’t meeting, but I decided to head over to the Square anyway. I had a leisurely breakfast at Sweet Spot Bakery then meandered over to Snug on the Square for a tall hot chocolate. My buddy Daniel always gives me a big ol’ smile and a hug when I come in. Snug and a hug go hand-in-hand.

I sat outside, positioned my chair directly into the sun and absorbed every ray of sunshine and vitamin D possible. It felt invigorating. I bumped into Jeremiah Hammer and chatted a couple minutes. Then, my neighbors, Sheila and Bob Johnson, strolled by. We ended up talking and sipping our drinks for over an hour. That’s what downtown McKinney is all about.

On my way back to my car, I popped into Art on the Veranda. It’s an adorable gift and art shop that features local artists and crafter’s work, and has the most creative gifts. They also offer a wide variety of classes. I just so happened to peek in during a Zentangle class. If you aren’t familiar with this fabulous doodling art form, make sure you check it out. Anyone can learn and create some nifty projects. (Did I just date myself and say, “nifty?”)

Zentangle instructor/artist, Angie Vangalis, leads a class at Art on the Veranda.

I was so pumped by the sun, fun and friends on the Square, that when I got home, I strapped on my tennis shoes and went for a long walk. More sunshine! Life is good!

The perfect end to a perfect day!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: There Is Only One Religion

26 Dec

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.
Dalai Lama
It’s Christmas Day, a day for family, friends, laughter and joy. Not everyone is so lucky or blessed. I happen to be one of the lucky ones. My sons called me today, as did many of my dear friends. My friend Karen and her husband invited me to their home for dinner so I wouldn’t be alone for Christmas the first time in my life. I baked and dropped off some more cookies to take to Fire Stations 2 and 8 on my way. After a lovely dinner, I stopped to visit my sweet friend, Della. We shared a cup of tea, cookies and conversation. What could have been a sad and lonely day, turned out to be a delightful day, all due to the kindness, love and sharing of time with others. Yes, I am truly blessed. Feliz Navidad!

Why, what did you have for breakfast today, Toni? Well, chocolate chip cookie dough, of course!

Firefighter Craig Ferguson over at Station 8.

Firefighter Brent Jones at Station 2. Don’t we have the nicest, most handsome firefighters? And they like cookies, too!

Yes, there is only one religion! When you share kindness, you receive kindness in return.


Montage Monday: a Week in a Peek

3 Dec

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

From Thanksgiving to giving thanks, from Home for the Holidays on the Square to just staying home, here is a week in a peek.


Sunday Serendipity

4 Nov

Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it. The word has been voted one of the ten English words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company.[1] However, due to its sociological use, the word has been exported into many other languages.[2]
Sometimes the signs hit you over the head, or smack you in the face, or sneak up when you’re not looking. Friday, I was talking to one of my senior artist friends about church. She hadn’t been able to go for several weeks after her surgery and she missed it. Saturday she called me, but left a message, as I wasn’t home. When I called her back, she said, “I sensed that you wanted to talk about something. I told her, “Not really. But, I had been thinking after talking to you that I needed to get back to church.”

When I woke up Sunday morning, I looked at the clock in the bathroom and it said 8:45. Darn! I promised myself that if I woke up early enough that I’d go to 9 o’clock Mass. Not enough time…wasn’t meant to be. So, I brushed my teeth, made a cup of tea, and started to dial my mom for our morning chat. It was almost 9 and I wanted to catch her before she went to church. I grabbed my cell phone and noticed that it said 8:05. What? That’s right! Daylight Saving Time. We fell back and I forgot to change the clocks, but the cell phone changed automatically. I DID have time to get to church by 9.

The signs hit me over the head. I scrambled, got dressed and got to St.Gabriel’s with five minutes to spare. It felt good to be back to church, to see families, children, elderly and the faithful, all there to show their respect and share their faith. I realize that being a good Christian or a good Catholic doesn’t mean going to church every Sunday, but rather being a good person every day, but sometimes you just need to put on your Sunday clothes and join others to give thanks, sing a few hymns and thank God for your blessings. Amen.




Montage Monday

22 Oct

Another busy week. The garage sale took a lot of time and effort but it sure felt good to find a good home for so many treasures. It’s kinda nice to see the recipients of the new owners. When you donate things, and man…I already donated a couple truck loads of things, but it was nice to see the people who took things home and the friends who stopped by to say hello. Many toys and stuffed animals were given away to smiling children. It felt a little like Christmas. I still have a lot to do to get de-cluttered and organized, but it’s a good start.



Freelance Friday

19 Oct

Day one of the big garage sale. We didn’t do a lot of advertising, just Facebook, friends, word of mouth and a few signs. We had a pretty nice turnout. Ed and Melanie were amazing to offer to host it at their home. Miss Sherry worked her little butt off helping all day.( Yes, she is a little bitty thing and has a little butt.) Hundreds of items and treasures found their way to new homes, but many more treasures available for tomorrow. It was a lot of work, but good work. We hauled so many things from my house to Melanie’s, and many unopened boxes and bags from previous moves were transported. While Sherry helped me open boxes and display items, a few precious items found their way back into my car. I found Joe’s Cabbage patch doll from the 80’s and a beautiful cross stitch gift from Vivian. Some things must be saved. NOW, the funniest thing was, my good friend Michele came and found a huge pile of great bargains… unfortunately, one of the items was a lovely journal that she had given me as a gift for Christmas just a couple years ago. I felt terrible. I said, “Oh no, let me save that!” She said, “That’s OK, I’ll just buy it and re-gift it.” Now, that’s a new twist on re-gifting! Buy your gift back at a garage sale and give it to someone else!

Embarrassing moment! Michele’s sad face.

It was a long day, but a fun day. It started to sprinkle around 2 pm, so we closed up early. I stopped at Dairy Queen and had nutritious lunch before going to my volunteer group with the seniors at Towne Creek.

Yes, nutritious. Ice cream and whipped cream…dairy. Hot fudge…chocolate comes from the cocoa bean…beans are legumes. The cherry on top is a fruit. All very good for you. NOT!!!!

After Towne Creek, Karen and I had pizza at the new Mellow Mushroom Pizza Place in McKinney. It was very good. More nutritious food.


When I got home, I called my sister, Jo, who said I was rambling and hyper and she recommended that a I have a drink, put my feet up and relax. Well, I am an obedient sister, so I fixed my famous Black Russian with chocolate ice cream. I did add some chocolate almond milk to the concoction of Kahlua and vodka. More healthy choices. Wow! I made some very excellent food and drink choices today, didn’t I? Tomorrow is another day, Scarlet!