Tag Archives: family

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

18 Jun

“When you plant a seed, make sure to water, nurture, love and repeat. The same goes for raising children and living your life.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”

Chinese Proverb


Wow! It was already blazing hot this morning outside of church. But, St. Gabriel’s is always cool inside with warm welcoming hearts within. We had a visiting priest from Quito, Ecuador saying Mass this morning. He travels the world raising money for The Working Boys’ Center in Quito. This center was founded in 1964 to help poor young boys working in the streets, then later entire families, helping them financially and spiritually. They have helped over 30,000 people through their programs. St. Gabriel is a very loving and generous parish.

Today’s Gospel, I thought, was very appropriate for Father’s Day… the parable of the mustard seed…

He said,

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants

and puts forth large branches,

so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables

he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it…

My take on it… whether it be the kingdom of God or our life here on earth, the tiniest seed can become the largest plant. How we raise our children, live our lives, share with others, these are the seeds that we plant today for the future. The smallest kindness or good example or generous act we do may go unnoticed by us, but may plant a seed in our children, families, friends and neighbors.


This morning, seeing that it was Father’s Day, I went onto Facebook and posted a picture of the best father that I know. All of my friends had posted photos of their dad or their husband, saying what great fathers they were. I posted a picture of my son Joe. He embodies everything that I think a great father should be. He adores his little girl and spends so much time with her. She adores him right back. He is a wonderful son, good husband and great dad. My dad wasn’t always that great. Joe’s father wasn’t that great. But, my son Joe is that little mustard seed that absorbed all those amazing worldly nutrients and became a great dad. I can honestly say he is the best father I have ever known.

When I was looking through photos to use for my post today, I saw a picture that Joe posted on our iCloud share this morning. I may not get to see my sons and family very often, but thank goodness for technology and FaceTime. This really made me smile and tear up a little.

That little mustard seed….

My little granddaughter has the best standard by which to measure. Happy Father’s Day, Mijo.

Saturday:) Saying Goodbye Can Be Beautiful

26 May

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”

Jimi Hendrix


You usually think of saying goodbye as being a sad thing. I’ve had more than my fair share of those sad and painful goodbyes. That’s why I like to share some of my happy beautiful moments with you.

This beautiful face makes saying goodbye an absolute joy. These precious ramblings will be imprinted in my heart forever.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

15 May

I’ve learned that all a person has in life is family and friends. If you lose those, you have nothing, so friends are to be treasured more than anything else in the world. “

Trey Parker And Matt Stone


Another good week. Warm weather, warm friends, sunshine, silliness. A week of learning, lunches, sharing, singing, and special Mother’s Day affections.

Friday:) From Here to There

31 Mar

“God never ends anything on a negative; God always ends on a positive. Because what is negative about going home?”

Shannon L. Alder


A long day, a travel day, back home after a long visit in Chicago. There’s no place like home.

My sister took me to the airport in record time with plenty of time to people watch and relax. Of course, security meticulously went through my bag because I had a huge ziplock bag of costume jewelry that I wanted to keep from Mom’s many treasures. A lot of metal.

When I got to my gate, I noticed a young girl, a college student, all decked out in her Norte Dame clothing and backpack. I had to say hello, and get a selfie. I was wearing my Norte Dame jacket, and told her my son went there, quite a while ago.This is Mariah.

My flight was not only on time, it left and arrived a few minutes early. My neighbor, Kathy picked me up at DFW, and we stopped for dinner. I was starving, as I only had pretzels to eat all day. Thanks Deb for the chocolate pretzels.

I am so lucky to have great friends. Kathy picked me up, and we went to Nom Nom for dinner.

My neighbor Diane brought in my mail and left it all on my kitchen counter, and she and Sue left me beautiful flowers, a sweet card, and a Godiva Chocolate bunny.

Yes, I have the best friends, the best family, and a beautiful life. I am blessed.

Theme Song Thursday:) This Is Who I am

30 Mar

“I am so clever that something Mrs I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

~ Oscar Wilde


Today is the day I tell you about the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. I have always been proud of my Mexican heritage, but I was even more proud when my son asked me to go with him to this museum on Sunday. He’s not really a museum kinda guy, but he wanted to do something special for his momma. On our way there, driving through the Pilsen neighborhood, I asked him if he is proud of his Hispanic heritage, and he said that he was. His other half is Lithuanian, and I think he respects both. But, he did say that he often rides his bike over to Pilsen, walks around, and stops for some tacos. (That’s my boy~ Mijo)

Today, the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. We are home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 9,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.

As the only Latino museum accredited by American Alliance of Museums, we recognize our unique responsibility to present exhibitions of artistic and cultural value and to deliver high-quality education that demonstrates the breadth and depth of Mexican art, culture and history.

The very first room we entered, and the first work that caught my eye was an interesting photograph. It says a lot. Pride in who you are… THIS IS WHO I AM!

The rest of the museum featured works from well known famous artists, all the way to local school children. That’s how it should be.

A few of my favorites…

This mosaic above is made up of tiny seed beads. Millions, I would imagine,

A wide variety of styles, techniques, and expressive opinions on life. But, isn’t that what it’s all about? We enjoyed our visit very much. I’d like to go back again sometime. Of course, there’s always the tempting tacos down the street afterwards at El Milagro.


Tuesday:) Toni Takin’ it to the Streets~ Great Food

28 Mar

Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.

~Jonathan Safran Foer


Sunday was a fabulous fun and food day. After a beautiful Palm Sunday Mass at St. Mary of the Angels, my son took me to the Mexican Heritage Museum, (more on that another day) and we walked around the Pilsen area of Chicago. The funny part is, our family lived in that area for many years when I was growing up. But, that was a long time ago. Nothing looked familiar.

After the museum, we walked over to his favorite taco place, El Milagro. He said he often rides his bike or walks over on a nice day. I ordered two chicken tacos. One couldn’t possibly be enough, because I was really hungry. Wrongo. They were huge, so I only managed one with a side order of rice and beans. I’m not usually impressed by “Mexican Food.” I always say, “At home, we just called it food.” But, this was sooooo good. I brought the other one home.

See what I mean? There must have been a pound of stuff on each taco.

Then, we walked next door to the tortilla storefront next door and bought a couple of dozen tortillas. 75cents a dozen! Wow! Still warm.

It was a sunny, fairly warm for Chicago day, so,we walked around the Pilsen neighborhood. Of course, we had to stop at the Mexican bakery down the street. (When in Rome)

They even had vegan pastries and cupcakes for my vegan son. I could never be a vegan. I could give up meat, but NEVER cheese or pizza or real brownies or cream cheese frosting on real cupcakes.

We went back to Matt’s, watched some Final Four games, then he worked on my taxes. My own personal tax and financial advisor. If you’re going to have children, try to raise a financial guy, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a nurse, or just some wonderful children who are happy to help you out when you’re old and grey. (Well, I’m old, but the grey is on hold) I’ve got a couple of very fine sons. Lucky me.

The evening rolled by, and guess what? It was time for dinner. More food! Matt wanted to take me to his favorite pizza place, Pequod’s. Yep! More food. You can never have too much Chicago pizza. Well, you can. I just did,

I waddled back to the car, more leftovers in hand, and I managed to clump and climb up the three flights of stairs, back up to his apartment. Oh yes, the view. Let’s not forget the view from his rooftop deck.

That was just one day of Toni takin’ it to the streets of Chicago. I didn’t even talk about the museum yet. It was a very full fun foodie day.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

27 Mar

” It only takes a moment to peek into someone’s world. A few words or a few pictures can tell a long story.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another week of lucky pennies, crazy good Chicago pizza and Mexican food, beautiful sunsets, friends, family, and faith. What more could you ask for? Counting my blessings!