Tag Archives: community

Tuesday:) Time to  Take a Stand, Time to Honor Good People

6 Jan

“When you stand up for what’s right, you never take a back seat.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“Giving up doesn’t define you, but how you stand in every choice and fight in every decision you’ve made reflects your character.” ― Carl Lomer Abia


The residents of McKinney, Texas have a strong sense of community. It’s a large city with a small town feel. Named the #1 place to live, and ironically, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, the reason for this honor has little to do with money. It has everything to do with the people who live and work here.

Today, I attended the McKinney City Council Meeting along with a packed room of concerned citizens. I was there to voice my concern about the council possibly rejecting a parade street closure permit for the 14 Annual Krewe of Barkus Parade on the square. My friend, Blynda Christian, had called me and asked for my support. Blynda, the founder of the very popular doggie parade, asked her friends to speak at the council meeting, and also stir up some support on Facebook. She is a good friend and has done a lot for the city. 

What was exciting is, before the regular session started, the Mayor had awards and proclamations to present. There was a large police and firefighter presence standing in the back of the room. Officer Maureen “Mo” Messner was presented a certificate and Decemebr 5th was officially proclaimed Officer Maureen Messner Day. Officer Messner saved many school children at a crosswalk when an out of control car went over the sidewalk towards the children. She ran over, leapt into and stopped the moving car, helping the unconscious pregnant woman, breaking a rib during the rescue. 

Officer Messner received a standing ovation. (Sorry, blurry picture. I was busy applauding.)

The fire department was also honored for their rescues during the recent flooding. 

When it was time for resident comments, there was a stack of cards of those wanting to speak. Mayor Loughmiller said he would randomly call names to come to the podium. Guess who gets called first? Moi! I started by thanking the council for their support and always listening to the concerns of the residents and voting accordingly. I didn’t have any notes, nor read from a well rehearsed script. I just spoke my mind, and explained how the parade is part of the many things that makes McKinney so special. Blynda and several others spoke, and I believe the council will fully support the venue. 

My voice didn’t shake, and I believe I spoke well, but my face always flushes a bit when I speak in a crowd. Not because I’m afraid, but rather because I am fervent about my subject.  I think it’s important to support your friends, your city, and speak your mind. That’s the definition of community.  

Blynda Christian knows that Mayor Brian Loughmiller supports the Krewe of Barkus. He and his family often bring their dog to watch the parade. 

Tuesday:) Time For Community and Funny Faces

11 Nov

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” 
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth


The second Tuesday of every month, a talented and fun group of people gather for McKinney Creative Community potluck. It was out first meeting at DIGGIN’  IT on Tennessee just north of the square instead of SPARC. We share more than great food, we share friendship. 

As we gather in a circle to introduce ourselves and tell a little bit about what we do, we also share what’s new and good in our lives. Sometimes we share our sad news and sorrows. It’s like an extended family. We often have new people join us, and they become part of the family. The group members are writer’s, painters, sculptors, musicians, and all around creative folks. I love these people!

 Oh yes, I always bake brownies for my potluck contribution. Being a creative person, I usually make a funny face in the mix before I start mixing. “I got a million of  ’em!”

Don’t forget about MAST this weekend. McKinney Artist Studio Tour.

Saturday and Sunday. Google for more info.

Tuesday: Today On the Square, In the News

16 Sep

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.H. Jackson Brown Jr.


This morning: Zumba, an hour walk, then a text from Kathryn asking for any suggestions for her Channel 5 News interview with Meredith Yeomans about the controversial parking garage proposal for the McKinney square. 

Kathryn Waite lives just a few houses away from the bustling downtown in the historic district of McKinney. I met her last week when she asked for assistance in starting her Facebook page, SOS- Support Our Square.  I was happy to help. 

She invited me to join her and several other neighbors before the interview. I don’t live on the east side or anywhere near the square, but I spend a lot of time there. I love the quaint atmosphere and the wonderful people. It is important to get involved in your community. 

Everyone agrees a parking garage is needed, but the proposed location would be a monstrosity of a 5 level parking garage right as you drive into the square. It would be unsightly, and detract from the charm. Several other proposed sites were rejected even though they would have worked better. ( Sounds fishy to me.)

Kathryn Waite. I just saw the interview on the news. Great job, Kathryn!


Tuesday: Time Together as a Community 

11 Aug

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.~Jean Vanier, Community And Growth


When you share your love, time, and talents with others, you help to build a community stronger than any fortress. 

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis 


Another second Tuesday of the month. Time for our monthly McKinney Creative Community Pot Luck gathering at SPARC. Did I “SPARC” your interest?

McKinney has blossomed into an amazing artist community right before my eyes. There are so many talented artists, writers, musicians, dancers, and creative people in our midsts, and these monthly gatherings offer a venue to meet, make friends, share, and learn from one another. 

I always make brownies, but being the goofy creative person that I am , I usually make a funny face in the mix before stirring and baking. Doesn’t everyone?

Last month when we met, the group joined hands like they do before at sporting events before taking the field, or starting a game.  This was a perfect photo op to show our support, strength, and solidarity. This is such a cool picture. Many hands joined together in friendship.  
SPARC is located at 405 N Sherman, easy of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church north of McKinney square. We meet the second Tuesday evening for a pot-luck 5:30-9. A great way to meet people. You don’t have to be a professional artist. Everyone has a talent. Mine is making faces with my brownies. 


Tuesday: Time for Community

15 Apr

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” 

― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth


My life has been blessed with an amazing family, friends and community. Today,  I started off with an 8:30 Zumba class where I’ve met some nice women and made friends. Then, home to make brownies for this evening’s McKinney Creative Community at SPARC. (I always play with my food and make funny faces with the brownie mix.)


I had just enough time to get the brownies out of the oven to cool before I headed off to the Square to have lunch with some old friends, some who I hadn’t seen in years. Then I scurried home to get a walk in before going to Creative Community.


This group of artist, writer’s, musicians, healers, and friends share so much creativity and friendship that the room is filled with a special exciting energy every second Tuesday. During our “meet and greet, what’s new and good” discussion, everyone introduces themselves and shares what they’ve been doing.

This evening I told the group how my daily blog inspires me to find something inspirational to write about, and how taking pictures of everyday scenes or objects can bring inspiration. Each day there is something to look forward to, something new to see and share. My friend Laura mentioned to me later that she was moved and inspired by what I said. How cool is that?

Lynne, Steve, and I had a conversation about how we treasure the special artwork that we’ve gotten from our friends, and how as artists, we are honored to know that our artwork or a gift holds a special place in someone’s home.


This is what I see when I walk in my front door. Special gifts.

We are all a part of a special community, but you have to participate in life to be a member. McKinney has a wonderful sense of community, great people, and fabulous friends.


Tuesday: Time For Community and Friends

10 Dec

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth
I am blessed to be a member of a wonderful group called McKinney Creative Community. We meet the second Tuesday evening of each month at SPARC. This month, St. Peter’s Church offered us a space to meet, and many of the artists, writers, potters, and fabric artists brought their work to display and sell. With the holidays around the corner, it was the perfect event to find some fabulous gifts created by local artists. I have been wanting to get one of Steve Macias’ beautiful raku pots for a long time, so today I purchased an early Christmas present for myself.

Isn’t it beautiful! It’s made with real copper glaze that will patina and transform, changing color as the years go by. I thought this quite appropriate to my new evolving life.

I also purchased Sean Cotter’s book. It’s his English translation from Romanian of Mircea Cartarescu’s novel BLINDING.


That’s Sean on the left. He speaks several languages, is very brilliant, very modest, and very funny.

It was interesting to visit with old friends and meet some new ones, but even better, it was fun to see all the wonderful creations that these talented people brought to share this evening. McKinney sure has some talented folks.






Sunday Sacrament:Communion

5 May

“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
― Mother Teresa
Today at mass, I was pleasantly surprised with a First Communion celebration. About thirty young, shiny faces processed to the front of the church. The girls all in white Lacey dresses with veils or flowers in their hair, and the boys in miniature suits and ties. They looked so small, yet so serious.

A few tears slipped down my face as I remembered, what seems like yesterday, when my own sons made their First Communion. The congregation was part of the celebration and applauded these young people after the service today. A wonderful sense of community, “an act or instance of sharing.”

A sense of community can bolster your faith when times are tough, and witnessing and being a part of your community is so important. “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much” either.

1 : an act or instance of sharing
2 a capitalized : a Christian sacrament in which consecrated bread and wine are consumed as memorials of Christ’s death or as symbols for the realization of a spiritual union between Christ and communicant or as the body and blood of Christ
b : the act of receiving Communion
c capitalized : the part of a Communion service in which the sacrament is received
3 : intimate fellowship or rapport : communication
4 : a body of Christians having a common faith and discipline <the Anglican having a common faith and discipline



Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Community

10 Apr

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth
I am very lucky to live in a very special city. McKinney has a beating heart that welcomes everyone. Yesterday, I spent the entire day with various activities, Zumba at the YMCA, the afternoon crafting and visiting at Sweet Spot Bakery, then our monthly pot luck at Mckinney Creative Community.

McKinney Creative Community is a group of talented artists, writers, musicians, and other creative souls that gather the second Tuesday evening of every month at SPARC, just north of the square. Their purpose is to nourish, share, and support each other and give back to their community. I’ve made some wonderful friends here. Everyone is welcome. (You can find a link on Facebook.)



I am thankful for and treasure all the special people in my community.


Sunday Sermon and a Lot of Sitting on a Rainy Day

6 Apr

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”
― Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones
Today’s Gospel according to John 11:1-45 told the story about Jesus raising Lazarus four days after his death. It’s a story about FAITH, plain and simple. Martha and Mary believed Jesus could restore life to their brother, and He did.

Faith goes a long way, but first you have to have faith in yourself. If you say, “I can do this,” then by golly, you can. Going to Mass on Sunday has helped me focus on my faith, not just in myself, but in others. You can’t help but be inspired by a congregation that gathers together to worship, praise and share. It means community, compassion and comfort. It’s a good thing.

After Mass, I met my friends Lynda and Karen for breakfast at Snug. It was a dreary rainy morning, but when you are surrounded by friends, you don’t even notice the rain. (Of course, until you go out and get drenched.)

I did a little shopping on the way home, came home and made a big pot of tea, and now I’m just sitting around, watching the endless rain fall from the dreary sky. “OH NO! I just remembered that tomorrow is my new book club gathering and I’m only half way through the book. BUT, I have FAITH that I can finish reading it by tomorrow night. Or maybe I can read a bunch, skim a little and cut to the end. My motto is “if at first you don’t succeed…cheat a little!” Feel free to borrow that one. Just kidding. I’ll finish if it takes all night.



Theme Song Thursday: Community ( This one’s cute! )

14 Mar

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
― Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist
The second Tuesday evening of every month, a really cool group gets together here in our awesome city. It’s called McKinney Creative Community. It’s a pot luck dinner and networking group of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, educators, etc. (You can find it on Facebook. Everyone’s welcome.)

We now have a permanent home at SPARC, a neat old house where creative classes are taught. We bring food to share, do a lot of socializing, then have a meet and greet, where we introduce ourselves and say what’s new and good in our lives. I’ve met a lot of new and interesting people here, and of course, I always make my famous brownies.

I just love McKinney and all the talented, creative, and loving people that make up our city. There is a true sense of “community” here, and everyone is welcome.

It was a beautiful evening and we sat outside and chatted and shared.

There was so much delicious food that I even had left over brownies to take home. Seeing as I kinda quit eating sweets, I took a few over to the kids next door and then took the rest over to my usual brownie drop off location, Fire Station 5.

I picked up the outside lobby phone and pressed Station 5. “Hi, it’s Toni with some brownies.” A quick reply of, “I’ll be right there,” followed.

I asked if I could take a quick picture for my blog, and Firefighter Stephens said, “I believe we’ve done this before.” I said, “Yep, and we’ll be doing it for a long time.” He said it was perfect timing, as they had just eaten and hadn’t had dessert.

I love my community!