Sentimental Saturday:) A Journey In Black and White

13 Sep

“Old photographs can tell a story that you will never know.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was a lazy Saturday. I had the greatest of intentions, but procrastination and lethargy got the best of me. While I was trying to nap, I looked up at the wall that has just a couple of family photos displayed. I’ve been meaning to frame and hang dozens more, but that procrastination thing is a strong and powerful force. I did get as far as looking through dozens of old photos and taking pictures of them so I could make some prints someday… when the lethargy passes.

I was entrusted with Mom’s old photos that were all mixed up in albums and envelopes, ranging from her family and childhood to her grandkids. I spent so much time looking and conjuring up stories in my head about people and places and things that I will never know. Mom never shared many stories with her daughters, so I’ll never know the real truth. Perhaps that’s what she wanted in the first place. The stories I’ll make up in my head will be happy and beautiful. I’m sure the Depression and WWII were not the best of times.

Reminiscing… some photos from before I was even born… (and that was a long time ago.)

Oh, the stories they could tell…

September 11th~ 9-11…Never Forget

12 Sep

“When Americans lend a hand to one another, nothing is impossible. We’re not about what happened on 9/11. We’re about what happened on 9/12.”

~Jeff Parness

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September 11th is a day to remember. Never forget. A day that all Americans wept at the horrific tragedy, yet all gathered together to help and console one another, and appreciate our life and our country.

We certainly are going through some tough times now, but maybe 9/11 will remind us that together we can get through anything. The keyword here is TOGETHER.

As is my custom, I try and get to a few of my local fire stations with treats on 9/11. This year has been crazy with the Covid dilemma, and my friends at the stations haven’t been able to accept Miss Toni’s homemade treats in a while. (They are getting skinny) But, they can receive prepackaged sealed items.

So, my theme for today was …HOT STUFF…FIRE AND WATER. I gathered up a case of water and the fixings for “Nacho” average firehouse nachos. “Hot stuff.” I even made a video for instructions. The key ingredient is my favorite Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa, and a big thank you to David and Michele Bernard for providing the awesome salsa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WaWdMYtnXs

My first stop was my Fire Station 9, just a few blocks away. They were thrilled receive the goodies, and they thought the fire truck with the screeching siren was pretty cool too.

My next stop was Station 2, over by the college, but no one answered, so I left the bag at the front door. (Station 5 said they’d give them a call later.)

My last stop, Station 5, my original favorite station that I started visiting in ’04 when I moved to Texas. The names and faces have changed along the way, but one thing remains the same… these firefighters are awesome.

Firefighter Allbritten answered the door at Station 5. I hadn’t met her before, but I had to tell her that she had the most beautiful eyes. Look at those eyes. She appreciated the compliment and the bag of goodies saying, “I was just about to go out and get something for our lunch. You just saved me a trip.” Nice!

I appreciate all our first responders. I didn’t get over to all the stations, (I did last year) nor did I visit the police station, but I certainly admire and appreciate each and every person. It only takes a little time to say thank you, and it means so much. THANK YOU McKINNEY FD.

Quarantined Karaoke Thursday:) Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

11 Sep

“The patter of rain is a chorus of raindrops.”

― Anthony T.Hincks

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Another Quarantined Karaoke Thursday. The rain has brought some wonderful welcomed cooler temperatures. I wore a hooded sweatshirt this morning on my walk and had windows open. Woo-hoo! I was going to sing “Rainy Days and Monday,” but the words continue… “always get me down.” I was delighted, so the rain wasn’t getting me down.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

9 Sep

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors — it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. — Wolfgang

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I never got around to eating dinner last night, so after waking up at 6 am, a trip to the airport, a few errands on the way hope, and a two mile walk, by the time afternoon rolled around, I was getting hungry. My two choices for cooking are always 1) Massive quantities of food, endless pots and pans, dozens of cans and jars, and endless chopping and dicing, making a mess and plenty to share with friends and neighbors. OR 2) Just grab something fast and easy and tasty that I can make in five minutes just for me. Today, I chose the latter.

Here’s a real quick and yummy no-recipe recipe. (I don’t follow directions well)

The main ingredient and source of inspiration is always in my fridge or pantry. A jar of BERNARD’S GOURMET FOODS SALSA.

I opened a can of black beans, drained, and added a few tablespoons of Tomato Y Red Pepper Salsa right into the can and stirred it up. (Lazy) I scooped a few tablespoons of the mixture onto two pre-made Calidad Tostada shells, sprinkled with pepper jack cheese, and popped it into the toaster oven until cheese all melty warm. I topped with chopped baby spinach, because I love spinach, and a dollop of guacamole that I had leftover from yesterday’s Taco Tuesday at Nom Nom, and another spoonful of salsa. Very vegetarian friendly and yummy.

This quick and easy no-recipe recipe can feed just one person, or a large tribe of hungry nomad lumberjacks on Spring Break. (Not sure where I came up with that?)

For more real recipes and cooking ideas, check out the Facebook page of my good friends David and Michele, at Bernard’s Gourmet Foods. THE BEST! Seriously, you should friend them. You’ll be glad you did. 🤗

Toni’s Time-Lapse Painting~ Japanese Blossoms

9 Sep

“Artists can find inspiration just about anywhere, even while sitting around drinking an iced tea,”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I was drinking my Arizona Iced Tea the other day, and I was just about ready to put the can in the recycling bin when I said, “Oh, look. Something shiny and pretty,” Artists get distracted easily. So, I left the can on the kitchen counter for inspiration.

Here’s a quick video. Simple, quick, and inspirational…

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

8 Sep

“The best part about a long weekend is that Friday comes a little bit quicker.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was a long Labor Day Weekend. I didn’t do any Labor, so it was just a regular weekend for me, I hope you enjoyed yours, ❤️

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

7 Sep

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”― Germany Kent

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This morning, I actually got dressed and got ready for 11am Mass. No pajamas today. I only had to take about twelve steps from the bedroom to the living room, but it was the preparation and the journey that counts, right? I prepared my cup of tea and got out my cracker for my virtual communion. (I know, it’s silly, but virtual communion is better than none.)

Today’s Gospel was interesting.

MATTHEW 18:15-20

15″If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

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My take on it… we should try our best to forgive people and listen to their side of the story and live in peace. Go directly to the person who has wronged you. Try and solve your differences. If they refuse, look for outside help or mediation. If that doesn’t work, just step away. Sometimes there’s just NO reasoning with bad hurtful people. Not everyone deserves forgiveness, nor do they want it. How you live your life on earth now will be reflected in the next life.

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This morning, after watching Mass, I was looking at my Facebook posts and catching up with friends’ photos and comments. I also spent a lot of time deleting UGLY political commentary posted by friends and family. I just don’t want to see it. I don’t get it. They can have their opinion, but I don’t understand why they have to post mean, ugly, hurtful, negative pictures and comments. Seriously? What purpose does it serve? Does it make them feel better? I just lose respect for them.

After much deleting, I ran across an uplifting story about Heratio Spafford, posted by my friend Joni Goen. She has such a wonderful loving spirit.

Heratio Spafford endured such pain and heartache throughout his life, but still had the strength to survive, appreciate his life and his gifts and his family and friends. He didn’t blame man or blame God. Even after all this suffering and loss, he wrote “It Is Well With My Soul.”

IS IT WELL WITH YOUR SOUL???????? Let’s be kind to ourselves and one another.

Did you know⁉️The song “It Is Well With My Soul” was written by a successful Christian lawyer Heratio Spafford. His only son died at age 4 in 1871. In 1872, the great Chicago fire wiped out his vast estate, made from a successful legal career. In 1873 he sent his wife & 4 daughters over to Europe on a summer trip on the ill fated SS Ville du Havre. Since he had a lot of work to do, he planned to follow them later. The Ship sank and he lost his 4 daughters with the wife being the only survivor. She sent him a famous telegram which simply read, “SAVED ALONE….” On his return home, his Law firm was burned down and the insurance company refused to pay him. They said “It’s an Act of God”. He had no money to pay for his house and no work, he also lost his house. Then while sitting and thinking what’s happening to him, being a spiritual person, he wrote a song – “Whatever, my Lord, You have taught me to say – It is well, it is well with my soul”. My dear friend, a good attitude will determine your altitude. When you look at your life, career, job or family life, what do you say? Do you praise God? Do you blame the devil? A good attitude towards God makes Him move on your behalf. Just sit down and say, “Today, God, it is well with my soul, I am thankful I had a peaceful sleep, I am thankful I am alive with possibilities, I am thankful I have a roof over me, I am thankful I have a job, I am thankful that I have Family and Friends. Above all, I am thankful that I have the Lord Jesus Christ on my side.” Be blessed and don’t be envious or shocked when others are prospering because you don’t know what they have been through to get there (test, trials and tribulation) so thank God for what you have. “Little is much when God is in it. It Is Well With My Soul!” Touch someone’s life with this message. If God is for us, who can be against us? A blessing is coming your way, my friend.

Saturday on the Square and Elswhere

6 Sep

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”

~Tim Cahill

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When it’s a gloomy Saturday evening, the skies just finished pouring rain, and there’s nothing on TV, it looks pretty bleak. Then, my phone rang at 5:48 pm. It was my good friend Sherri Murphy…”Whatcha doin’?” Well, knew an adventure was in my future.

Sherri said that she wanted to run down to the Square and go see Maribeth Jagger’s art show over at The Cove, and would in like to join her. Well, Maribeth is one of the most awesome local artists and instructors around McKinney. I said, “Sure!”

She said she was driving down Prosper Trail Road and would be at my house in ten minutes. I’m glad she gave me some notice. (I’ve been known to call her from her driveway.)

The Square was pretty hopping as we drove through on our way to The Cove. It was so good to see Maribeth and a few artist friends that we haven’t seen in many months. I think we were all smiling. Hard to tell under all the masks. Maribeth had a clear shield, so we could see her smile. It was great to see Steve and Minda Macias. Alex was there too, but no photo op. (Amazing ceramic and pottery artisans.)

After we visited a while, we drove back through the Square to look for the Butterflies on display. Here’s the one in front of Chestnut Square.

We probably visited for around an hour all together, but it was wonderful to go on a short adventure with Sherri Murphy.

I’m still not sure if I’m Thelma or Louise… I guess it really doesn’t matter. We do have fun. Thanks Sherri!

Friday Photos:) From My Walk, Following My Heart ❤️

5 Sep

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have somone click the shutter.”

~Amstel Adams

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I love my daily walks, and even though I pass the same streets, houses, trees, and waive to neighbors and strangers, every day is a new adventure. I like to think of it as following my heart. Hearts always cross my path, too.

Sunset is my favorite time of day, and “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have somone click the shutter.”

Well, it’s Friday again…. Happy Black Russian Friday, my friends.

Quarantined Karaoke Thursday:) You’ve Got a Friend

4 Sep

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

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Another Quarantined Karaoke Thursday….

A good day for a long walk and another beautiful sunset. Life is good! Keep on singing…