Tag Archives: Faith

Wednesday:) When God Turns the Worst Day of Your Life Into a Celebration

12 Jul

Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

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Five years ago today was the absolute worst, painful, devastating day of my life. Most of you already know the dreadful details and heart-break that began on this day in 2013. I won’t get into detail. My spirit and heart were broken, but my faith never wavered. What you may not know is the miraculous events that followed. There were three, and only three, painful calendar dates that plagued my heart and soul. 7/11, 8/23, and 12/5. God changed all three of those dates into a celebration. This was no coincidence. Today, 7/11 is the first date, the first mini miracle.

That awful day is now a celebration. My son Joe got married on 7/11/2015, changing the previous painful memories into happy new ones. I gave a loving toast to the beautiful bride and handsome groom. I danced the mother/son dance, crying tears of joy and softly singing “Child of Mine,” in his ear. Now, the worst day of my life is a special happy day. Happy Anniversary!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2udWx091cc

Sunday Sermon and Kenyan Choir Celebration for Father Charles

2 Jul

“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

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Hot, hot, hot here in north Texas. But, it was a good day for celebrating our final day with Father Charles before he leaves for St. Francis. I arrived promptly at 8:30 to greet before 9 o’clock Mass. there were many smiles, hugs and handshaking. Father Charles was officiating every Mass, saying farewell to each congregation and group of altar servers.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus being asked by a man to heal his sick daughter. On His way, a woman who had been sick for twelve years heard that Jesus was passing, and she thought, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” When she touched his cloak, she was healed. Jesus felt the power leave Him and asked who touched Him. The woman fell before Him and trembled and confessed.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.

Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While He was still speaking, Jesus and the father were informed that the sick daughter had died. He replied, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He went to his house, took the child’s hand and told her to arise. The girl woke and walked around.

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My take on it…. Faith is a very powerful force. We may not all receive miracles like these mentioned, but we still need to have faith. Mostly, I think we need to have faith in ourselves. God doesn’t cause awful things to happen, He’s just there to help us get through them. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

After 9 o’clock Mass, I ended up staying a little longer for the 11 Mass. I went to my car, took my brownies over to the rec center for the potluck lunch at noon, and sat and listened to the Kenyan choir rehearsing. They were going to sing in honor of Father Charles at 11. It was a packed house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCMgrjoYBCk

The lunch afterwards was standing room only, with Father Charles, walking around, talking to so many friends, shaking hands and hugging children. He will be greatly missed.

Sunday Sermon and Mother’s Day Memories

14 May

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

― Abraham Lincoln

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My favorite picture of my mother and ME. (I cringe when people say my mother and I. Improper grammar.)

On my way to church this morning, I couldn’t help but feel sad on my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I miss my daily morning calls. I miss her sweet voice and her giggles on the phone or her hugs and laughter when we were together.

This morning, as I greeted at the door before Mass, I felt a comfort knowing that Mom was in heaven and smiling at me. She has sent me many signs, lucky pennies and butterflies that follow me around. So, I know there’s a heaven and Mom is there patiently waiting for her family and friends.

Today, being Mother’s Day and Ascension Sunday, made it even a more beautiful service. The children came up and sang as they put flowers by the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Today’s reading was about Jesus telling the disciples to go out and proclaim the gospel.

MK 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

My take on it… back then, we didn’t have radio, television, the internet, Facebook and Twitter. People had to travel and send letters to share news. We have all these gifts and technologies at our fingertips. You would think that we could spread love and hope and goodwill throughout the world. You would think we could end war and hatred and evil. Hasn’t worked so far. So, let’s keep trying.

At the end of Mass, Father asked all the mothers to stand up for a special blessing. As we stood, and all the other congregation raised their hands to join in the blessing, Father asked God to bless all the mothers, mothers in heaven, women who are loving caregivers, and all the nurturing women who take care of so many people. Uncontrollable tears rolled down my face. I tried to look up to stop them from trickling further. That didn’t work, so I just went with the flow…literally.

Reposting my poem for my angel mother.

My Angel Mother

If you don’t believe in angels

I’m here to say it’s true

There are angels up in heaven

They’re watching over you,

So, I asked my angel mother

I whispered in her ear

When you get up there in heaven

Please show us you are near.

If only you could send a sign

As only angels can

We will know you’re safe in heaven

And that you have a plan.

To watch and guard us every day

You’ll guide us from above

So, you left two lucky pennies

Beneath your painting, signed with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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When I went for my long afternoon walk, I said,”Well, its Mother’s Day Mom. Are you going to send me a sign?” Almost an hour later, I’d forgotten my request. I was a couple of blocks from home, and that annoying smooshed beer can was still by the curb on a neighbor’s lawn. I didn’t want to carry it all the way home, but turned around to pick it up. As I picked up the grungy can, just a few inches away was a lucky quarter.

I guess it was my Mother’s Day bonus. 25 times as lucky as a penny. Thanks Mom.

Saturday:) St. Anthony and All My Angels On Speed Dial

7 Apr

“For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans.”

Brian L. Weiss

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St. Anthony happens to be my Patron Saint, as I was baptized Antoinette. I like to think this gives me a little extra influence with the official Patron Saint of lost articles and lost souls. I call on him quite a bit. We Catholics have a Patron Saint for pretty much every dilemma, illness or intention imaginable.

Well, the other day, I was out for a long walk. The sun was shining, but a little cold. I had gloves on, but I was reveling in the sunshine, swinging my arms, and singing show tunes in my head. I was just a couple of blocks away from my house when, there on the sidewalk, I saw a shiny coin. It was a lucky dime. The strange thing is, I walked that same path when I started out, and didn’t notice it there. Hmmm?

I picked up the dime, after taking a picture, of course, then smiled as I put it in my pocket. I silently said, “Thanks Mom.” Or maybe I said it out loud? I do that sometimes.

I got to my front door, reached for my house key that I keep on a rubber band on my wrist, and NO KEY! Where was my key? Panic! How will I get back in the house? Oh, my neighbor has an extra key, but I didn’t like the thought of my house key somewhere on the street, so I did what I always do. I prayed.

“St. Anthony. It’s me AGAIN. I dropped my key somewhere, and I know you will help me find it.” I didn’t say maybe, I knew he would. To increase my chances, I said my other prayer to my Guardian Angel, who happens to be my mother, right now. For some reason this prayer I learned when I was a little girl, popped into my head a few weeks ago, and will not go away.

So, I retraced my steps down all the sidewalks and streets I walked, repeating the prayer and asking St. Anthony for help. I thought for sure it would be where I picked up the dime. Nope! I kept walking several more blocks. I even thought, this was a strange way to get me to walk a few extra miles.

Finally, I was right in front of Mr. Larry’s and Ms. Sandy’s driveway, (where I sometimes stop for a beer in the garage and catch up on neighborhood news.) and there was the key, smack in the middle of the sidewalk.

It was early morning, and the garage was closed, so I hadn’t stopped. But, as is my habit, as I pass by their house, I give a wave by the front window in case they see me walking past. The key must have slipped off as I waved. Or maybe my angel just left it there knowing I’d find it or Mr. Larry would. Either way, St. Anthony and my angels helped me out again.

I have many more stories of my angels rescuing me in time of need. Many of my angels are right here on earth. Sometimes God gives you earthly angels to help you along the way. I’m blessed with so many. And, I think a few of you reading this right now, know that you are one of those angels. Thank you.

Theme Song Thursday:) Come Sit With Me

28 Sep

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

~Warren Buffett

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One of my passions is writing, thus this daily blog. But, I also enjoy reading posts every day from the many other writers that I follow. This morning, when I read my daily inspiration from DivorcedCatholic.org, I was genuinely moved. It reminded me of the many times when my boys were little, and they would ask me to come sit with them or play with them. I usually tried to comply, but sometimes the standard, “Just a minute” would pop out.

When I read this story, I started to tear up. I remembered so vividly a few occasions when my youngest son would come home from school or a baseball game or some event, and he would be very quiet. Even back then, he never really talked about what was bothering him. But, once in a while, he would just come and sit next to me, then lay his head on my chest and prop his feet up on the couch. I would just stroke his hair without a word. He didn’t need me to say anything or fix anything. He just needed to sit with me and know that he was loved.

Sometimes that’s all we need, someone to sit there without a word and love you. That’s why when I go to church on Sunday, or light a candle before support group on Wednesday, or when I open my eyes in the morning, or before I fall asleep and close my eyes at night, I silently say “Thank You” to God for my blessings and strength and family and friends. I don’t have to say it out loud. I just rest my head on His chest, silently.

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Your Daily Inspiration for Thursday, September 28, 2017

The other day, I remembered an incident that happened when my son was four years old. As I walked into the kitchen, he was watching his favorite TV show. Patting the seat of his chair, he looked up at me with these big, puppy-dog eyes and said, “Can you come and sit with me?” My heart melted. Even though I had a million things to do, I could not resist the invitation and sat down with him. He snuggled up close to me and rested his head on my chest. We sat there very content for the next twenty minutes silently enjoying each other’s company. It was one of those “moments,” and I came away with a renewed sense of peace, feeling very grateful for the time spent and for my son.

A divorce or separation can crash into your world fragmenting your time, attention, and energy. Whether it’s raising kids as a single parent, working two jobs to make ends meet, coping with the emotional fallout of a dying marriage, or all the above, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

Just as my son invited me to “come sit,” our Lord, Jesus Christ, makes the same invitation to you, everyday, 24/7. He is present in the tabernacle of every Catholic church throughout the entire world. Think about that. Our Lord, the Great Healer, the Great Comforter, the Creator of the Universe, is available to you pretty much whenever you want–and most likely within 15-20 minutes of where you are standing. And He is longing for you to come and sit with Him. Take Him up on His invitation often. No matter how difficult or stressful your life may be, He promises that you are sure to come away with a renewed sense of peace and hope. Won’t you come sit with Him?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. – John 14:27
For more resources visit vincefrese.com and DivorcedCatholic.org


Sunday Sermon and a Sunset

17 Sep

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” 

― Will Smith

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Another beautiful Sunday morning greeting parishioners at St. Gabriel’s. I actually remembered to wear my name tag today, and more and more people are saying, “Good morning, Toni.” I’ve been learning more names and giving out more hugs and handshakes,too. The new church building is coming along.


Today’s Gospel was another story about forgiveness. ( Is somebody up there trying to tell me something?) Peter asked Jesus about forgiveness. 

Gospel MT 18:21-35

“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.”

When the servant who owed a huge amount of money to the king begged for mercy and not to be sold, along with his wife, family and possessions, he begged… “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.” The king forgave him his debt. Later, that same man came across a fellow servant who owed him a small amount of money, and instead of forgiving the other man’s debt, he had him imprisoned. When the king heard this, he summoned the man and said, “You wicked servant!” And he asked why he couldn’t forgive his fellow servant a small debt after being begged, when he had forgiven his huge debt. The king was angry and had the man tortured.

My take on it…well, first of all, these Gospels lately have been hitting home. I’ve been working on this forgiveness chapter in my life, and I’ll admit, I’m not totally there yet. Here’s my dilemma. In all these verses and Gospel readings, someone is begging for forgiveness. And yes, we are told that God will forgive us anything if we ask Him. But, they ASK! I keep reading quotes and have people telling me that I need forgive,  even when someone doesn’t ask for forgiveness. You do it for yourself. I STILL DON’T GET IT! 

I had this discussion with friends just a few days ago. My philosophy is actions speak louder than words. I don’t have to say the words, “I forgive you,” and I still can go on with my life, without hate or anger, be the best person I can be, and have a good heart. But, unless I am asked to forgive someone or some offense, there’s no point saying the words. If they don’t even think they’ve done anything wrong or have harmed you in any way, there’s no point. It means nothing to them, so it means nothing to me.

If you ask God to forgive you, He will. That’s why He’s God and we’re just human. He knows what’s in your heart. I have asked God for forgiveness and strength, and I believe that has been granted. But, He also will NOT forgive an evil person with an evil heart. They will be punished.  Do you see the point now? You have to sincerely ask? You have to change your ways and change your heart. It’s not a free pass to do what you please.

Okay, now on a brighter note.🎼 After Mass, the Knights of Columbus had free donuts outside at a couple of tables. There was a small donation jar. I walked over, slightly tempted, as I hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday. But, I’m not a huge donut fan, even chocolate. So, I just put a dollar in the jar and said, “I’m saving the calories. Thanks for all you do.” Then, off I went to Sprouts.

Did I mention I was hungry? Uh oh! Sprouts had dark chocolate covered almonds on sale for ONLY $2.99 a pound. My downfall! That’s insane! I’m insane! I bought many pounds. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many. I’m glad I passed on the donuts.


But, before you judge me too harshly, I did buy some apples, peaches, green peppers, tomatoes, and blackberries. It looks like a lot, but I like to share with my friend, Miss Eleanor. She can’t get out to the store much.

It’s been a good Sunday. I’m going to post this and go out for a nice long walk. It’s still kinda hot out there, so I may have to stop for a beer if Mr. Larry’s garage is open. 

Here’s my sunset from last night…



Sunday Sermon and Some Pancakes

28 Aug

“Knowing God is not enough; you must make Him known to others. Through your living character, you tell more about the living God!” ― Israelmore Ayivor

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Happy Sunday! It was a wonderful morning, a bit overcast, with a chance of rain, but no sprinkles before or after church. The serious Hurricane Harvey devastation is hundreds of miles south, near Houston. Mary and I stood and greeted before Mass, reminding folks that the Knights of Columbus of St. Gabriel’s were hosting a free pancake breakfast after Mass.  Free? You can’t beat free.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus asking the disciples, “But who do they say I am?” Simon declared, “You are the Christ…”Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

My take on it…Peter became the “rock” of the church because he believed in Jesus without physical proof, with faith alone.  Sometimes, we have to have blind faith. Also, whatever you do here on earth, that’s how it will be in heaven, reminds us that our earthly existence is where we prove ourselves worthy of heaven. “THROUGH YOUR LIVING CHARACTER..”

After Mass, most folks filed over to the community center for a very nice pancake breakfast, the Knights, K of C men, all dressed in their royal blue shirts, were busy cooking, serving, cleaning and hosting this event. It’s also a great time to chat and visit with old friends, or make new ones.



One of my new friends and CRHP sister, Danna. We enjoyed the fine meal and friendship.