Tag Archives: friendship

Saturday:) A Special Day With a Special Friend~ Bluebonnets and Backroads

3 Apr

“The best sights are seen on the backroads with a best friend.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My awesome friend, Sherri Murphy…AKA…Thelma, called me up and invited me to check out the backroads and some Bluebonnet fields this afternoon. Yippee! I never have done that, and seeing as Sherri took me to see some amazing sunflower fields last fall, we have a flower field theme going on.

Sherri picked me up and even brought some fun girlie hats to use for our photo ops.

We took some backroads and pulled over on the side of the road to photograph some old barns and beautiful wild flowers.

We stopped for lunch at the Hula Hut in Little Elm and had an awesome lunch overlooking the water.

We took turns sitting in the big girl chair outside.

Lunch was yummy. They have the greatest burgers and fries. I was afraid this big sturdy chair wasn’t going to hold me. After I ate all that food.

Then, off to the bluebonnet field next to an old cemetery.

Good friends enjoying the backroads and the Texas Bluebonnets! Thank you Sherri Murphy for an awesome day.

Sunday Sermon and SO MUCH BETTER TODAY

15 Mar

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” ~Oprah Winfrey

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Before I get to my Sunday Sermon, I just wanted to say thank you for all the well wishes and prayers for my brief yet debilitating second Moderna Vaccine Friday. Today, I’m back and feeling about 99% . Thank you Miss Cheryl for your prayers and communion intentions at Mass today. That was sweet.

Big difference from yesterday, right?

Today’s Gospel from John explains that God gave His Only Son to save mankind…

Gospel, John 3:14-21

16 For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.17 For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.18 No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.19 And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.20 And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up;…

My take on it… God sacrificed His son to save us and show us the light of His love. Some choose evil and avoid the light of salvation. To me, it doesn’t mean going to church or pretending to be holy, it means leading a good life, choose the light and good, and show your faith through example.

I hadn’t ventured out the door since Friday, so today when I saw the sun shining and heard the birds chirping, I grabbed my lawn chair and sat smack dab in the middle of the driveway, face turned towards the sun.

Ah! Sunshine!

I’m very thankful for a beautiful day, feeling fine, and my awesome friends and family.

Thankful Thursday:) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

25 Dec

Edwin Osgood Grover

“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.”

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I’m sitting here with a glass of wine, listening to Christmas music, and reminiscing all the treasures and pleasures of Christmas past, hopeful for better and brighter days to come. Merry almost Christmas, my friends.

I haven’t been here in McKinney for the past five years, always in Chicago, so I was excited to share my Christmas spirit on Christmas Eve. I have so many friends and traditions. One of my traditions is painting an ornament for my local fire station #5, but since I’ve moved and I have a new fire station just a few blocks away, I make one for both stations, #5 and #9. This year, because Crazy Covid has put a damper on my baking and sharing, I put together some awesome “hot and spicy” gifts to take over along with an ornament and some baking treats. Of course, some Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa for the star attraction.

My friends at Starion #9. I know their Christmas tree will enjoy the new addition.

Station #5. I saw Captain Floyd walking past when I dropped off the gift. I’ve been dropping off special treats and gifts at #5 since ‘04. They’re not my local station anymore, but tradition is tradition. Thank you all!

After I stopped at my fire stations, I went over to the Chateau Retirement Community. I had called a few of my friends that I used to greet at the door at St. Gabriel’s. They were so happy to hear my voice, so I decided to go over and drop off a surprise gift for them too.

Miss Marilyn was so surprised to see me at her door. I miss these sweet ladies so much.

The only thing, the layout over at the Chateau is SO confusing. There are four different building groupings with all kinds of wandering hallways. This young lady was working, but was kind enough to escort me to each door. She said she didn’t like having her picture taken, but this is sweet Sophia, who was my guiding light. I couldn’t have done it without her. I thanked her profusely.

By the time I left my final appointed rounds, I was feeling so invigorated and wonderful. I had just walked in the door, when I received a text from my new neighbors across the street. They wanted to stop over with some homemade cookies and a sharing plate. I am so blessed.

Earlier this afternoon, I received a package from my friend Vicky Hodi, back home. I knew it would be her homemade baklava and delicious cookies. So far today, I’m living on hot tea, cookies, baklava, and wine. Life is good, my friends.

Yes, I am truly blessed. My granddaughters called to FaceTime with Gamma. Even though I’m far from family and old friends and the world is crazy right now, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet,

Merry almost Christmas, my friends. Wishing you health, happiness and joy.

Saturday:) Someone Stole My Front Porch Bench

17 May

“The greatest thief is the one who returns the item better than they found it.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I woke up this morning to the sound of pelting rain. It rained all last night, during the night, all day, and still raining. So, I gathered up all my strength, pulled up the covers, then rolled over and went back to sleep. Rainy days make me sleepy.

My phone dinged a couple of hours later. My friend and neighbor, Allison, asked me in a text how attached I was to the old dilapidated brown bench I had on my front porch. She wondered if it was of sentimental value. The last time she was over, it sat out front all broken and disassembled from the last storm. I replied that it was a $10 garage sale find.

Then, she texted me some pictures of my broken bench, laying on a tarp in her garage. She had gotten up at dawn, drove her truck over to my house and stole my bench.

The funny part is, I have a Ring doorbell and didn’t even hear her when she pulled up. Did I mention that rainy days make me sleepy? Later, I checked my Ring doorbell camera, and there she was, stealing my bench in he rain.

She put it in the back of her truck. Then, she spent hours sanding, stripping, hammering and nailing, trying to repair my old bench. She wanted to surprise me. She’s still working on it. A lot more work than she expected.

These are the kind of wonderful friends I’ve been blessed with. When I thanked her and said she was so thoughtful and kind, she said, and I quote, “You help so many people and offer so much to the community. Someone needs to give back to you.” OK, I got misty.

Allison is not only a wonderful friend, well known author/writer, amazing Master Gardner, but she has a lot of power tools and she knows how to use them.

She later sent me some pictures and a video of her Flower Tower that she also assembled and planted and placed in her front yard on this yucky rainy day. All these projects in one day. I’m lucky that I remembered to brush my teeth. Hmm? Did I brush my teeth today?

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

Today, I accomplished nothing, zilch, nada. And, I’m embarrassed to say, (well, not really) I never got dressed and I’m still in my pajamas. “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know.” (Old joke.)

But, the day is still young. It’s not even 10 pm. I may go upstairs and do something creative, maybe a watercolor painting, or an acrylic project, or maybe just go brush my teeth.

Happy lazy Quarantined lazy rainy Saturday, my friend.

Timeless Tuesday:) Friendship Is Ageless & Timeless

5 Feb

As long as I’m learning every day of my life, I will never feel old. Never. And I don’t feel old; I feel in my head and in my heart – I don’t know, ageless!

Pat Mitchell

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This morning, a group of abeles and timeless friends gathered at the lovely Dulaney Cottage in the Historic Chestnut Square Village in downtown McKinney.

Our international, world traveling, and amazing friend, Annie Stokes, invited all of her local McKinney friends to join her for brunch at the Delaney Cottage this morning. Annie rarely stays in one city, much less one country long enough to spend much time with her friends, so this was more of a reunion and celebration. The beautiful historic home was the perfect setting for a gathering of talented and fascinating ladies whose ages spanned nine decades. The informal brunch provided time to visit with old friends, and the best part, time to meet new people and make new friends.

The adorable Annie Stokes, orchestrating the yummy brunch, along side another dear friend, Lynne Weinberger.

Some of the ladies had to leave early for other appointments, but the majority of us lingered long through the morning to chat, hear fascinating historical stories, and make new friends. There’s something really special about sitting in an old historic home, imagining all the history and stories the old building could tell. We became part of that history as we sat there continuing the tradition of friendship and community. McKinney, “Unique by Nature,” is our motto, most appropriately penned.

Thank you Annie Stokes for arranging such a lovely reunion.

If you haven’t been to Historic Chestnut Square, it’s a charming timeless place to visit, with farmer’s markets, wedding venues, tours, and many activities. Check it out.

https://www.chestnutsquare.org/

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

4 Feb

My blessings are many

And my troubles are few.

And you would be smiling

If you knew what I knew.

There is no big secret

There’s no fountain of youth.

Simply love who you are

And let that be your truth.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another great week, my friends. How blessed am I!

A week in a pictorial peek…

Saturday:) Some Super-sized Soup for the Soul

2 Feb

“Forget Chicken Soup for the Soul. How about chicken soup for your friends with the flu?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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We’ve all heard about or have read the series of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. If you think about it, when you are sick, have a cough, cold or flu, you always think, hmmm… I need some chicken soup to make me feel better. And the books relate inspirational stories that speak to soul, to make you feel better.

Motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen collaborated on the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, compiling inspirational, true stories they had heard from their audience members. Many of the stories came from members of the audience of their inspirational talks. (Wikipedia)

But sometimes, we need to do things to help other people feel better, emotionally and physically. My for friend and neighbor Allison has been sick for weeks with a horrible cough, flu, possibly pneumonia. I’ve stopped at the store and picked her up some groceries a couple of times, but nothing says I love you like a huge pot of homemade chicken soup. Yesterday, I spent hours dicing, chopping, simmering, de-boning, and preparing a big pot of chicken soup.

I always do great until I get to the onions, that’s why I save that for last. I cry.

The soup was delicious, and I dropped off a big container at Miss Allison’s front door, and left it on the bench. She still worries about being contagious. She texted me that the soup was wonderful and she really appreciated my kindness, plus, she had enough to last her for days.

There’s chicken soup for the soul and chicken soup for your sick neighbor. I’m pretty sure the soup and gesture were good for the soul. That’s what friends are for.

Wednesday:) What Wonderful Friends I Have

31 Oct

” The nice thing about reuniting with old friends is no one seems to be getting older. We just don’t notice. Plus, we are old, so our vision is as bad as our memory.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I had the privilege of meeting some old friends for dinner tonight. They aren’t really old. Well OK, yes they are, but don’t tell them I said so. We usually only get to see each other once a year or so when I come to Chicago for Christmas. So this was a special treat.

First, Vicky picked me up from my son’s house around 1pm. We were meeting the other girls for dinner at 6, so she invited me to her house for lunch. I had mentioned that I had a bad cold, cough, runny nose etc., so she made me some homemade lentil soup. She was also going to show me how to make her world famous baklava. She knows I love it.

When we arrived at her house, we headed straight for the kitchen to start the baklava and get it in the oven.

She makes it look so easy. Actually, it didn’t seem too bad. I may try it sometime. Nah! It’s never going to taste as good as hers.

Ta-Da!

We sat and had our soup while the baklava baked in the oven. After the simple syrup was drizzled over it, and it cooled off, we had a tea party. Lin texted around 4, asking what I was up to, I said I was at Vicky’s having tea, so she joined us. Vicky made a big pot of tea and set out a big plate of the fresh out of the oven baklava. I asked her, “Well, I see my plate. Where is yours?”

Before we knew it, it was time to meet Vivian and Diane at Carson’s for dinner at 6. Carson’s is famous for their ribs and steaks. I’m not a huge fan of either, so I had the Greek chicken. Oh my. That was delicious. We sat and visited and reminisced and giggled like school girls for a couple of hours. Oh yes, and passed around grand baby photos on our phones. It wasn’t that long ago we were passing around photos of our own little ones. But, not photos on our phones. Those were the prehistoric hard copy Kodak kind of photos.

We had a great visit and planned our Christmas reunion dinner for when I return in December. Wow! Twice in a year!

I am blessed with the greatest friends all over the country, old and new. But, there are no friends like your old friends. We share a lot of memories. And sometimes we share our reading glasses, and our arthritis medicine, and our BenGay, and our Tylenol, and I could go on….

I’m sorry… this was too funny not to share…

Sunday Sermon and 60+ New Friends

21 Oct

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”

~Henri Nouwen

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Another beautiful Sunday. I love greeting before Mass, getting lots of hugs and handshakes. I passed out little cars and a beanie baby to my little friends, and ran over to welcome the Chateau bus. I gave each senior friend a big hug and a piece of chocolate candy from my Halloween stash.

Today’s Gospel was Jesus telling his disciples about the necessity to always pray, using the parable of an unfair judge who kept denying justice for pleading widow. The judge finally gave in, saying that he didn’t fear God nor respect anyone, but the widow kept bothering him so he would finally render a just decision “lest she finally come and strike me.”

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones

who call out to him day and night?

Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

My take on it… the parable is telling us that the Lord will make sure justice is quick to those who are faithful and constant, but when the final day comes, will God find any faithful? I sure hope so. Don’t give up or give into the ways of sin, greed, and corruption.

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Well, I just took a short break from writing here because the tornado sirens went off. Scary! I grabbed a big pillow, blanket, flashlight, and cell phone and took cover. I called my sister and talked to her until the sirens stopped. Now, we are just under severe thunderstorm warnings. So far, so good.

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Back to Sunday. After Mass, Helene and I had volunteered to dispense our parish picture directories in the cafeteria. Very nice books. Everyone was impressed. They looked like high school year books. We joked around saying that we should bring our books next Sunday and get autographs and ask friends to sign our books like we did in high school. “Good luck next year.” “2 good 2 B forgotten.” Remember those? They were also passing out the baby banks, where we put in our loose change and cash for a few weeks to support various children’s groups.

I got home in time finish up my pasta salad and divide into containers. I was invited to a friend’s house for a potluck barbecue at 1 o’clock Wow! Lots of great food and even better company.

Then, Helene and I had joined a church group called 60+ that was meeting at 5:30. We didn’t even know such a group existed, but we saw the sign up sheet at the church picnic a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to check it out. The only requirement is being 60 years old or more. Well, we’ve got that covered.

We met at Dave Manders’ gorgeous home in McKinney. There were probably 40 to 50 people there, with so many wonderful folks and delicious food. It was so nice to talk to people that I see every Sunday at church, but never knew their names or get to chat. Then, there were new friends to meet. We were welcomed with open arms.

Father Don was there to give the blessing before we ate, and to join us for fellowship, food, and conversation.

I feel so blessed to be part of such a loving church community. I’ve made so many good friends at St. Gabriel the Archangel, but more importantly, I’ve become even stronger in my Catholic faith. I like this quote below. “Church is who you are. Church is what you do.”

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

13 Oct

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

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An absolutely perfect Sunday morning. I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather, in he 60’s and the sky a crystal clear blue. That’s why this Psalm and song popped into my head.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus entering a village where ten lepers asked, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” He cleansed them, but only one returned, fell at the feet of his healer and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner.

Jesus said in reply,

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?

Where are the other nine?

Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;

your faith has saved you.”

My take on it… sometimes we ask for God’s help, but we forget to thank Him when our prayers are answered. But also, how many times do friends and family do something special for us, and we often take it for granted. It’s funny, I was thinking about that e other day. I thought, I need to make some special hand painted cards and send to people that have been so kind and generous to me, and just say “Thank you for all the times I forgot to say thank you.” This Gospel reading spoke to me.

After Mass, Mr. Jerry, Helene and I stopped for coffee and conversation, then I stopped at the grocery store to buy more stuff that I really don’t need, but… it was on sale.

Another walk around the neighborhood with Bella. She loves the cooler weather. So do I. Then, I decided to work outside a couple of hours. It’s been too hot for weeks, but… this is the day the Lord has made… for working outside.

I had a nice chat with my friend Debbie, from back home in Chicago. She texted me a cool shadow picture of her Halloween decorations and I did an Artisto application to it. My friend Debbie is awesome. We’ve been friends since BC… before children. I think about 1977. Thanks Deb, for all the friendship and kindness all these years. (Your other best friend is kinda skinny there.)

Now, I have to walk the dog again and think about getting something to eat. Yikes! It’s almost 7 and I haven’t eaten anything but a handful of Bugles and nuts. Crazy!

Happy Sunday, my friends.