Tag Archives: memories

Theme Song Throwback Thursday:) Memories

6 Apr

“A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.”

~Honore de Balzac


I’ve been going through a tangled jumbled heap of costume jewelry that belonged to my sweet mother. I touched and reminisced and sorted through dozens and dozens of sentimental pieces, many of which were gifts from me, family and friends. But, when I was packing up the plastic container with all the neat compartments, the box slipped off the bed onto the floor. So I just heaped the piled into a large zip lock bag, and put it in my carry-on bag when I flew home. Needless to say, security went through my bag and even had to separately rescan the jewelry a second time.

I was still in the process of de-tangling today, when I came across a very special locket.

Memories came flooding back. Memories of babies and families and special gifts and unconditional love. That huge pile of costume jewelry is probably only worth a few dollars monetarily, but the memories are priceless.

When I get nostalgic, I write poetry and I sing songs and I get misty. That’s what I do.


A tiny silver locket

A picture tucked inside

It was given on her birthday

She showed it off with pride.

A picture of her grandsons

On the back, her favorite part

The inscription said, I love you

And was worn next to her heart.

So, now I have her locket

Those memories will not fade

I’ll place Mom’s picture next to theirs

New memories to be made.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Saturday:) Sorting Through the Photos and the Memories

18 Feb

“A good photograph never belongs to the past; every time you look at it, it is with you, it is alive and it is in the present moment!”

Mehmet Murat ildan


I’ve been sorting through hundreds of Mom’s photos,realizing that she neatly organized them in absolutely no form or fashion. There are dozens envelopes secured with ancient rubber bands, and a few small albums with artwork and art shows. They were in a bunch of file boxes. The photos are interspersed with pictures from the 70’s, mixed in with recent great-grand-baby pictures, and a few copies of faded wedding pictures from the 40’s, all mixed together. No time line. Then, my sister informed me that that was just the pile in the top part of the cabinet. There are hundreds more in the lower cabinet.

I decided to sort as many as I could in a few boxes into several categories. Family, friends, artwork, the place where she lived, and then her individual pictures of her alone.

This is going to take a very long time. Not only am I trying to organize the pictures, I’m looking at each one and remembering each event. It’s like a movie newsreel that jumps all over the place. I have become a “time traveler.”

The one common theme in all the photographs is, “My mother was an amazing woman.”

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni!

18 Jan

“I like to think that when I paint vases, wine glasses, ornaments, or other special gifts, that I’m making a special memory for that person. They know they’re made with love. You just can’t buy that at the store.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


What’s cookin’ Miss Toni? Why, glass vases, of course.

I’ve been so blessed to part of the women’s CRHP 28 or Welcome retreat group at St. Gabriel’s these past six months. All the ladies have been meeting every Tuesday and other planning days to prepare for the next incoming group. Because I was out of town for over five weeks, I wasn’t able to join in several of the crafting and planning days. I tried to think of what I could make at home to contribute. We were in need of some table decorations, so I volunteered to paint some vases. Our color scheme is purple and grey, so I painted lavender flowers.

I spent two day painting the different layers, then baking in the oven for durability. I smiled and enjoyed every minute, because I knew that this tiny contribution would add to the beauty of the powerful retreat weekend.

They turned out pretty nice. We are going to put battery operated votive candles at the bottom. I’m pleased. I can’t wait to see all the other crafts and gifts the other ladies made with love, while I was gone.

First layer, then leaves and stems next. Then, into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Here’s what’s cookin’.

Voila! Baked, cooled and ready to share.

Tuesday:) Tribute to Family and Friends in Heaven

27 Dec

“Life is short. Make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

~Billy Graham


With all the festivities, fun, and family gatherings over, the day after Christmas is always a let down.

When I was at Mass yesterday morning, kneeling next to my first born child, now a father himself, I was thankful for my family and blessings. I looked at the other families, worshiping together and giving thanks for their blessings. It made me think about all the people who were alone during the holidays. I thought about families, separated at Christmas by death, divorce, military, police or firefighters, working, or homeless. I thought about the people who were up in heaven. It was a sad time, yet a happy moment to have all those thoughts course through this my head. I cried.

We may have known loss and pain, but we can think about our happy memories and joys. With a new year approaching, this is a good time to reflect on those joys and happy memories. We can remember those who are gone, but not forgotten. Life is short, make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings,

Tuesday:) Timeless Treasures

2 Aug

“Every keepsake is a memory, and every memory is a time and place in someone’s heart.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“What we spend, we lose. What we keep will be left for others. What we give away will be ours forever.” ― David McGee


I wanted to write and share this story at the end of May and plum forgot. Or did I? I don’t remember now. Well, it started sometime in March. I was cleaning out the fridge and organizing the kitchen, when I ran across this little bottle of wine. It was a wedding souvenir for the attendees of Kevin and Margies wedding on May 30, 1987. When I looked at the bottle that has traveled and been packed up from house to house, New Jersey, to Illinois, and then to Texas, I wondered , why in the world did I still have this. 

Kevin was the son of Barbara, the sweet lady who was our relocation realtor who found us our house in New Jersey when we moved there in 1986. She was so impressive, that when her son graduated college and was looking for work, she asked Tony, (Mr. EX, as I call him,) if he could interview at his company. Long and short, Kevin was a great guy, got the job, and later we were invited to his and Margie’s wedding. I really didn’t see them more than a handful of times when we lived in NJ, but they were a nice young couple. We moved back to Illinois in ’88. The little wine bottle traveled along.

When I discovered this keepsake and realized that it was nearly 30 years old, and their anniversary was coming up, I did some research. I couldn’t find them, but Miss Barbara, low and behold, was still selling real estate. I contacted her through the company website. She then called her daughter-in-law, Margie, and told her about the keepsake. Margie emailed me…


Hi Toni,

Barbara told us that she received a nice email from you recently. I laughed when you told her, that for some reason, you still had the small bottle of wine from our wedding. That is too funny. I think we used all of the extras in our early marriage cooking fiascos….

(Some personal greetings and family stuff I edited out.)

Anyway, when I heard that you contacted Barbara, I just wanted to reach out to you and say hello. Stay well and God Bless you and your family.
Warm regards,

I replied to the email and asked for their address so I could send them their wine bottle for their 30th anniversary. She was pleasantly surprised, and for some reason, I thought it was meant to be. Maybe that’s why I kept it all those years, so this nice couple could have this special memory and warm wishes from a long ago acquaintance.


Hi Toni,

Thank you so much for your package and card. The card and envelope are gorgeous. You have a wonderful talent. (I sent a handpainted card) I may be sending the card back to you in 30 years to remind you of your exquisite talent. I put the wedding favor in our hutch as it will make a nice keepsake. I remember when I was deciding on wedding favors, my Mom and I had a little spat at the time. (More personal stuff.)…

Kevin and I are looking forward to celebrating our Anniversary with a trip to Punta Cana. He works so much that I hope he is able to unplug for a while. He has been known to go on vacation and continue to work for several hours per day.

Have a nice summer and thank you again for your thoughtfulness.


Sometimes you hold onto things for no reason, or it seems like for no reason at the time. But, every keepsake is a memory, and every memory is a time and place in someone’s heart. I’m glad I sent Margie and Kevin a little memory from 30 years ago. Not everyone gets a happily ever after, but some do.

Saturday With Mom:) Some Snow And Some Other Stuff

18 Dec

“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” 

― Steve Maraboli


I never thought I’d miss the snow, but to share the view and the day with my sweet Mom, now, that is a perfect day. This is the view from her balcony window. We are all toasty warm inside…very warm…Mom keeps her thermostat somewhere between 82 degrees and the boiler room of Hades. 

We started off the day with chorizo, potatoes, and eggs wrapped in a warm tortilla. Ah…home cooking and memories.

Then, we took a nap. We have a lot in common with babies. All we do is eat and sleep. Not really. We had some fun painting. (We were being silly, too.)

Mom and I are making memories and making a mess in the kitchen. 

Last night, we had Black Russians. It was Friday night, and that’s my Friday tradition, and Mom was kind enough to join me. 

Extraordinary memories with Mom.

Montage Monday:) Reminiscing

28 Jun

There are events in one’s life which, no matter how remote, never fade from memory― Jim Corbett


I’m back home in McKinney after three fun-filled, food-filled, family and friend-filled weeks in Chicago. It’s good to be home, it’s sad to leave home.

Montage Monday:) Memories Made

14 Jun

 We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.
– Jeremy Irons

A wonderful week here in Chicago. Making new memories.

Saturday:) Celebrations and Other Stuff

15 May

“Every day is a good day. There is something to learn, care and celebrate.” ― Amit Ray, Walking the Path of Compassion


My dear friends over at McKinney’s Sweet Spot Bakery celebrated their 3rd Anniversay today. 

Miss Kathy and Miss Elizabth cut the cake together, just  as they’ve shared the good times and tough times of growing a small business. Friendship, loyalty and hard work have been the key ingredients for this recipe for success.
Look at this beautiful cake. It was even more delicious than it looked.

Along with yummy cake, their was live music and singing.

We meet many people in our lifetime, and we visit many places, but sometimes we find that special place where we make those great friends that make very special memories. 

Afterwards, I stopped at the Visitor’s Center to chat with Miss Sue. McKinney is a special place….friends everywhere.


Congratulations Sweet Spot Bakery!!, 


Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

1 Mar

A photograph is a memory you can hold in your hand and share with the world. 

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


What would we do without cameras and phones that take pictures? They are instant memory recorders. Every picture tells a story, captured in less than a second, lasting a lifetime.