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Spectacular Saturday

24 Aug

I want every day to be a fresh start on expanding what is possible.
~Oprah Winfrey.
It was a very long day. I’m talking mikes long. It started out when I picked up Matt from the airport. His flight was delayed, then road construction, we didn’t get hone till almost 1 am. I stayed up packing more boxes till almost 5. Then up at 7:15 to wait for the movers.

I will summarize…they were amazing.

Matt was up early unhooking tv’s and pacing more boxes. Matt was amazing!

Lynne, Karen and Linda Grossman each stopped by for a visit. Can you say girlfriends? They came to wish me well and brighten my spirits.

I have the bestest friends in the world. Lynne brought pizzas and Linda brought my favorite beverage. Matt and I enjoyed the pizza, and I christened “the goose. ‘

Matt and I stopped back at the old house to pick up some things. Look what was waiting for me on the bathroom counter.

I am so exhausted now. that I’ve actually nodded off several times while writing this. Time to finish my drink and get to bed. Tomorrow I will get up early to go to church and thank God for HISang blessings. Miles to go before I rest
Bye! See y ‘a ll later.


Wednesday Words of a Wisdom

10 Jul

“It’s not enough to have the feathers.

You must dare to fly!”
― Cass van Krah
Yesterday was my two penny Tuesday, and this morning I found a lucky feather on the last lap of my fourth walk around the neighborhood. I passed that same spot three times, and I didn’t notice the feather before. Just as I was ready to pick it up, I said to myself, (yes, I talk to myself.) “Ooh! Don’t forget to take a picture for today’s blog post.”

I had a special feeling that that feather was placed in my path today. I needed a feather today. Some angel, I’m not sure which one, as I have several watching over me, was sending me a sign. And, from the looks of it so far, it might be working. I’ll keep you posted. (You know I will.)

I found a feather on my way
To nowhere special yesterday.
It wasn’t there when first I passed,
But greeted me upon the last.
I picked it up and asked not why
Remember, “You must dare to fly.”


Saturday on the Square: Home for the Holidays

1 Dec

Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

Downtown McKinney celebrated Home for the Holidays this weekend. There were train rides for the children, live entertainment, skating, food and art vendors, and a gorgeous carousel. Of course, Santa was on hand for photos and to listen to the requests of the children for Christmas morning. Even the Grinch who stole Christmas was in a good mood. It was a fabulous Fall day on the Square.

Santa was the star of the show.

Chris and I sang, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” but this was a penitent Grinch. Very friendly.

Miss Jan and Miss Lynda dressed in old-time costumes represented Imaging on the Square and the Art Club of McKinney. Lovely hand-made costumes.

The charming carousel sparkled in the afternoon sun.

A cup of hot tea and an ooey-gooey bar at Sweet Spot bakery ended the visit and a spectacular sunset guided our way home.


Sunday Salutations

11 Nov

We all know that a church is not a building.
Robert H. Schuller

I started out my day with a conversation with the two entities who have been looking out for me since the day I was born. The first, was my dear mother, of course, the second was with God. Yes, I went to church again this morning. I wanted to show my appreciation and respect, ask for strength to carry on, and have a few moments to pray. I know a church is not a building. I find it is a place that gives inspiration and comfort.

After church, I was able to spend another fun-filled afternoon with friends. We visited the art studios on the MAST tour that we missed yesterday and had a great lunch at Louisiana Street Grill near downtown McKinney. What would I do without my wonderful friends, my passion for art and my writing? I am so blessed.

Annie Royer’s studio.

Renee Wrenwood and Gail McLaughlin.

Cool photo op by the Flour Mill.

A good day!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Gratitude

19 Sep


Even when things get tough, if we wake up each day with a grateful heart, it can make a bad day a little better. God has given me all these gifts, especially wonderful friends and a loving family. I am blessed.

You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to wake up in the morning and write down three or more things that I am grateful for. Yep! That’s what I’m going to do!


Wednesday: Words of Wisdom and “Perfect” Strangers

30 May

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dallas Fort Worth Airport. It was a busy Memorial Day weekend. Terminal A was already bustling with stranded passengers from the bad storms that had grounded and cancelled dozens of flights the night before. Servicemen were scattered everywhere. I was catching a flight to Chicago, but my flight was delayed too, leaving me with few hours to kill.

I tried to shake hands with all the soldiers and thank them for their service, but I’m sure I missed a few. As fate would have it, I struck up a conversation with a soldier sitting all alone, and I asked him if I could buy him breakfast.

To make a long story short, we sat, ate a nutritious McDonald’s breakfast,(humor) and chatted for well over an hour. It turned out that Chaplain James Lewis was an army Major heading home on a four day pass before being deployed. He had been stranded overnight at DFW, losing a day of precious family time. We shared more than stories and email info that morning. We shared a small moment in time where The Lord lets you meet a fascinating, kind, and special person; a stranger who now becomes a friend.

Here is my first letter to Chaplain Jim and his response. I am truly blessed to have made a wonderful new friend.
(May 28, 2013)
Dear Chaplain Jim,
It was such an honor to meet you Saturday. I always say The Lord puts certain people in my path for a reason. I’ve had so much fun visiting with my sons, Mom, and my sister, and of course, sharing my story of the wonderful Chaplain I met at the airport. I hope you made it back home to your family without more delays.
As I told you, I write everyday, and thought I’d share my blog from Memorial Day. I’d be honored to hear from you now and then, and hope you don’t mind if I keep you in my email ramblings. I definitely will keep you in my prayers.
Your new friend,
Toni Andrukaitis

(Chaplain Jim’s response on May 28, 2013)


Thanks for breakfast and the chance to share. I do intend to keep up with you and will include you in my Chaplain’s Chats weekly mailings, starting up again probably next week once we are in country.

It was fun to tell my wife that I got picked up by a gal at the airport eager to connect with a lonely Soldier! She’s a fun one– I think I’ll keep her. Next week will be our 26th anniversary.

She kept my trip home a secret from the kids– a good time was had by all, despite the rather cool weather as we were camping on the lake– counldn’t tell it was summer!

If I miss you next week, send again so I cann get you on my list when I’m building my new routines.
Keep being a blessing-


I look forward to hearing from you, Chaplain Jim. Stay safe!

Sunday Salutations and Other Sentimental Stuff

21 Apr

So much craziness is going on in the world, it’s refreshing to hear the voices of people who just want to enjoy life without being inundated with mayhem 24/7. One of my friends, Gail, posted on her Facebook page that she was sick and tired of it. Well, good for her. I strongly believe the more violence and terror you see, the more it effects you. That’s why I try to post mostly happy or uplifting stories, except of course, when my dogs drive me nuts. Here’s what Gail had to say, and I totally agree. Then my friend, Carolyn, commented with such a lovely response about my writing.


Carolyn wrote: “Yes, I agree with you Gail. Funny, that is what Fr. Michael’s sermon was on this morning. We are inundated with news now as compared to when he was young and one could sit with a cup of coffee and read the newspaper or turn on the TV at your own decisive time. My one comment was we could sit around the radio and listen. Then spend time looking at the beauty around us and thank God for those times also. I have been thinking a lot about Toni Armenta Andrukaitisitus lately. As I was perusing my facebook there were all kind of hate messages against and for our president, against the bomber, etc. Then I came across Toni’s post. She sees something good every day in her life and writes a post about it. So refreshing and fulfilling. Thank you Toni!”

I am honored that so many people are influenced by my positive and humorous writings. If we all shared a little sunshine instead of gloom, the world would be a much better place. Have a great day, as the old annoying cliché goes!



Sunday Salutations: The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side…Or Is It?

4 Mar

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence,” is one of those quotes that’s meant to make us contemplate life. Why do we think that there is always something better out there? Why do we always want what we can’t have? It’s been going on a long time. Remember those stone tablets from way back when? The proverbial “Top Ten List”… Number 9:Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Number 10:Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

Sounds like a great topic for today’s Sunday sermon. Well, I’m not going to lecture or preach. I’m the last one to be giving advice. I just enjoy making observations in my little corner of the world. The one thing I can say is, I’m pretty happy with my life. I don’t covet my neighbor’s stuff. I’ve got plenty of nice stuff of my own.

Imagine my confusion when I discovered that the grass IS greener on the other side. When I looked out my kitchen window, the empty lot next door was already greening up, while my manicured lawn was still brown and dry as straw with winter’s dormancy. The grass on this neglected lot has never been watered, weeded, or sprayed. Perhaps the secret is Mother Nature has a better way of doing things. The crabgrass, clover, and hearty weeds popped through the dry black earth with glorious green boldness. I’m not coveting my neighbor’s lawn, but…it’s still greener on the other side.

If you think the grass is greener
Over on the other side
Try to look a little closer
With your eyes now open wide
Appreciate the things you have
Right in your own backyard
The world becomes a better place
It’s really not that hard.

20130303-214326.jpg BIG DIFFERENCE!

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Sidecar Saturday

24 Feb

Being fairly new to the the world of blogging and fairly old, well, just in general, I’ve met some very interesting and talented people out there in cyberspace. I love to share my profound words of wisdom, tremendous tips and awesome artistic talent, (not to mention modesty), but sometimes I run across other creative souls that are inspiring. I’ve been following Sethsnap on WordPress. I have no idea what his last name is and I’m not positive where he lives, but one thing I do know is, he is an amazing photographer. He shares his daily photos with the world, and once a week, he asks his followers to share their thoughts, stories or poems inspired by his photos.

I am always inspired by his spectacular photographs and wanted to share his photo for this week’s challenge, and my inspired poem. Just Google him, or check him out on Facebook.


A sturdy oak with branches bare
Protects the schoolhouse standing there
With memories of days gone by
A child’s laugh, a lover’s sigh
With stones as strong as time itself
A wooden floor, an empty shelf
If walls could talk, they’d surely say
“Please bring the children, stop by and play.”

Saturday Salutations: Tipping Your Conscience

17 Feb

The sunshine was inviting, but the outside temp was still a little chilly, well, at least for Texas. It was one of those stay under the covers kinda days, and since my morning writing group was cancelled, that’s just what I did. Of course, that doesn’t last too long when you have a nine month old puppy the size of a Shetland pony barking incessantly.

My Saturday usually entails taking care of the dogs, checking emails and Facebook, calling Mom, frantically trying to type something witty to take to writing group, and fighting with an uncooperative printer. Then I’d scurry off to the Square for our meeting, have lunch at Snug, and walk around visiting with friends. Yep, pretty much my routine every Saturday.

Today was pleasantly different. After taking care of the dogs, a leisurely cup of tea and the newspaper were my companions. I watched more mindless television and did all that email stuff. But, something strange happens when you are used to scrambling around. You start to get antsy by noon. So, I called my friend, Della, and we met at Olive Garden for lunch. I know what you’re thinking, “Yuck! Olive Garden?” But, it was a brisk soup and salad kinda day, so there!

Our young waiter’s name was Jake. He probably wasn’t old enough to shave yet, but he was very attentive and did a great job. Jake brought us more salad, refilled drinks, and pretty much worked his butt off for his little measly compensation. I have this philosophy about tipping at restaurants. It really isn’t the amount of your bill that you should use to calculate for your tip, but the amount of service and the circumstance.

I have been to fancy-dancy restaurants where the waiter comes by a couple times, pours some expensive wine and gets 20% of a $400 check for a couple minute’s work. Poor Jake hustled for about an hour and a half, probably stopped by ten times, and my bill was $7.50. I ask you, how is that fair? 20% would have only been $1.50, and a lot of people don’t even tip 20%. I left the kid $11, and even felt guilty about that. That’s over 40%, but the young man treated us like royalty and deserved every penny.

On our way out, I made sure to tell the hostess that Jake was an excellent server. I find that people tend to complain about poor service, but rarely compliment good service. So, think about that the next time you go out to eat. Tip your conscience, not the numbers. All the Jakes in the world will appreciate it.