Tag Archives: Pay It Forward Challenge

Theme Song Thursday:) Sharing Joy and Cookies and THE 12th DAY OF CHRISTMAS “PAY IT FORWARD”

25 Dec

“There is no greater joy than making someone smile.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“A purposeful act or extension of kindness to another is never wasted, for it always resides in the hearts of all involved in a chain of love.” ― Molly Friedenfeld


Yesterday, I started my cookie baking marathon. I started out at the store buying last minute supplies. The cashier, Miss Sherrie is a landmark at Albertson’s. I always say, “How are you today?” She replies, “Onery as ever.” She saw all my flour, sugar, butter, etc. and said,”Looks like you’re gonna do a lot of baking.” I told her I always bake tons of cookies for Christmas and she said she wouldn’t mind having a few. We laughed, but it gave me an idea.

This morning I finished up dipping the peanut butter cookies in dark chocolate and making the lemon cake balls and dipping them in white chocolate. I made all my containers to share with neighbors and the two for the fire stations. But, I made a little container to take over to Miss Sherrie. I remembered that she said she was working Christmas Eve.

I got in line at her register with just the container on the belt. It had a little note that just said Merry Christmas, Toni. She tried to scan the bottom several times then said, “Honey, there’s no bar code on this.” I laughed and said, “That’s because those are the cookies I made for you, Miss Sherrie.” She was really overwhelmed and delighted. She came around the counter and gave me a big hug. We exchanged Christmas well wishes, and when I left, she had the biggest smile. (I love random acts of kindness!)

This expression says it all.

My next stop was Fire Station #5. I’ve made an ornament for them every year since I moved to Texas in ’04 and always have a batch of cookies. I asked them if they put up a tree this year, and they said just a tiny little thing. But they said they’d hang this special one up on their tiny tree. They remembered me as the ornament lady and thanked me. I shook their hands and thanked them right back.

Next stop, Fire Station #2. I started dropping off goodies there a few years ago when a bunch of the guys from #5  got transferred to station #2. Double duty.

I didn’t even have to knock on the door. They saw me coming. Gotta love our guys in blue!

When I got home,mother sun was still shining and it was a gloriously warm and lovely day, so I took a walk and dropped off cookies at Bernadine’s house. She’s the lady that made banana nut bread for me the other day. Sweet lady. She invited me to have a cup of tea, but I wanted to walk and enjoy the sun before dark.

Isn’t she precious. 

More cookies went across the street to Miss Kathy, some to Mr. Mike, and some to the family next door. I still have a lot of cookies, but tomorrow is Christmas, and I’m sure they will find their way to a good home. Not to mention, my son Matt arrives tonight, and he loves my cookies. And…I’ve sampled quite a few…just to make sure they were good.

Saturday:) Sharing, Caring, a Sunset and Day 7 “Pay It Forward” Challenge

20 Dec

“A random act of kindness 

 Is a lovely way to show

 That everyone is special

 Even people you don’t know.

 Perhaps they’ll “pay it forward”

 By going that extra mile

 Sharing kindness in the world

 Giving someone else a smile.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This morning, while I was walking, I bumped into Bernadine. She’s a neighbor a few blocks away that I met a few months ago while walking over by the pond. We discovered that we both go to St. Gabriel’s and have a lot in common. When I baked Halloween cupcakes in October, I took some over to her and her husband Vince. So, when we started chatting today, she said, “Toni, I made you some banana nut bread, but I haven’t seen you walking, so I put it in the freezer. Can you stop by the house and get it?” Well, of course I could. 

How delightful. I was the recipient of an act of kindness, and a tasty one, at that.

Now that I’m working on my 12 Days of Christmas Challenge, it’s getting a little more difficult to come up with new and exciting “pay it forward” ideas. But, this morning while walking, I noticed a moving van around the corner. Hmmm? New neighbors! So, when I went for my evening walk, with the glorious sunset illuminating the evening sky, I decided what better way to welcome neighbor’s than with a random act of kindness.

I went home, wrote the poem about random acts of kindness that begins this post, and strolled around the corner with a box of Russell Stover assorted fine chocolates. I even jotted down my poem for the new neighbor’s. They were very appreciative. I’m sure this helped them start off the first day in their new home with a pleasant feeling.

Tina, Josh, and young Matthew. I know, I’m not the greatest photographer. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Theme Song Thursday and Day 5:) “Pay It Forward” 12 Days of Christmas Challenge

18 Dec

“The best place to start is with a song in your heart. Then, sing out loud and proud, even if you’re a little off key”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


As promised or threatened, depending on your perspective, more about the Unbiological Sisters’ karaoke bus trip. Sherri and I met ten other fun ladies for a sing-a-long karaoke bus ride in Plano, where we drove through several over the top, amazingly decorated  for Christmas neighborhoods. We sat in this cool bus with flashing speckled lights and a karaoke screen in the back, while we passed around microphones and belted out great popular songs and then Chritmas songs on the second half.

Sherri and I were loving every minute.

We stopped several times to jump out and take some photos. Caravans of cars and horse drawn carriages also rode through the neighborhoods. I didn’t realize it was such a tradition.

Santa and I are holding hands. He promised me something special this year for Christmas. I’ve been a VERY good girl.

Day 5:) “Pay It Forward” and Random Acts of Kindness

I met my dear friend Linda Grossman for lunch this afternoon. We were going to Nom Nom, but the line was out the door, so we scooted a few doors down to JC Burgers. While we were waiting in line to order, the ladies behind her said, “Linda, is that you?” They squealed and hugged and said, “Merry Christmas! How are you?” 

Well, as is my custom, I said, “Do I get a hug, too?” And proceeded to hug two perfect strangers. I explained that I started doing that at church when I greet before Mass. One of the ladies asked, “Where do you go to church?” Turns out we both go to St. Gabriel’s. Small world! We sat down at different table, but when Peggy had to leave, we invited Michele to join us. It took forever to get our order, so we had plenty of time to chat.

Michele asked how I knew Linda, and I told her she was a friend, but also my realtor, and how she sold my old house, found me a perfect new house, and held my hand through a very painful divorce. Then, Linda proceeded to tell her what a fabulous artist I was, and raved about my hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

That’s when the light bulb went off. This could be my random act of kindness for a stranger. I went to my car where I just so happened to have an ornament that I could personalize for her, with a paint pen that I happen to carry in my purse. (Artists are always prepared.) Michele was delighted, and she gave me another big hug.

Don’t you just love a lady that wears her Santa hat to lunch!

Not only did I have a fun “pay it forward” adventure, but I made another new friend along the way. I love how that works!!!

Wednesday:) Wacky Women and Day 4 “Pay it Forward” 12 Days of Christmas Challenge

17 Dec

“Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn’t understood.” ― Weihui Zhou


I’m going to start with my Pay It Forward Challenge. I had a doctor’s appointment with my hematologist at 10 this morning. I took one of my pretty pearl and pink bracelets with me, thinking that I might find a sweet lady in the waiting room to surprise with this gift. Doctor Palanisamy is also an oncologist and has many cancer patients.

When I arrived, there were only a few men sitting in the waiting room. After my blood work was drawn, and I had my exam and consult with Doctor Pala, I asked her if she might do me a favor. I told her the story about my 12 days of Christmas Challenge and random acts of kindness. I asked if she would give the bracelet that I had in a pastel pink bag to one of her patients receiving chemo today, as this might brighten her day. She was very moved by the gesture, but insisted that I give the gift to her patient myself. She had a specific lady in mind.

Doctor Palinasamy thought this was a wonderful idea, and asked her nurse to find Mrs. Vincent over in the chemo waiting room. I went over and introduced myself and presented her with the bracelet. 

Debbie immediately put on the bracelet and thanked me for my kindness. I asked if I could take her picture, then we chatted for quite a while. We discussed family, friends, etc., low and behold, we had a lot of things in common besides the same Doctor. Debbie is an artist, and she’s also a Catholic. I don’t run into many Catholics, except at church. I gave her my card and we shared info. Hopefully we will become Facebook friends and keep in touch. Such a lovely lady with a beautiful spirit. This was my most rewarding random act of kindness so far. I got in my car and smiled and sang all the way home.

I had invited a few friends over for lunch, and couldn’t wait to tell them about my adventure and the new friend I made. These are my wild and wacky talented artist friends. We don’t get together very often, but when we do, we laugh and joke and get down right silly. I love these gals. These are my other unbiological sisters.

Table Of Talent Sisters

If that wasn’t enough wonderfulness for one day, I was going to meet another group of girlfriends for a karaoke bus ride and holiday light tour at 5:30. But, that story will have to wait for tomorrow.   

Tuesday in Town and Day 3 of Pay It Forward Challenge

16 Dec

“Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.” ― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose


McKinney, Texas is my kind of town. Well, so is Chicago, as the song goes, but I live in McKinney now. I love the small town atmosphere of the square, the quaint shops, the friendly people.

This morning, I went to my Zumba class at the YMCA. I love Zumba! When I got home, I decided to try and get a walk in before the mean dark clouds let loose. One of my acts of kindness today was, I texted my neighbor and asked him if I could take his dog, Bella, for a walk. He works from home and doesn’t always have a lot of free time. Bella loves to go for walks and so do I, so it’s a win/win. We both get a little exercise and I do something nice for a neighbor and an adorable dog.

I was meeting Karen and Miss Eleanor for a late lunch at Mellow Mushroom on the square around 2pm. We were celebrating Miss Eleanor’s 91st birthday. Afterwards, I walked around and visited with friends at Sweet Spot Bakery, popped into LAST Art Gallery and chatted with Dana, Judy, and Gail, then while crossing the street, I bumped into Kathryn. All of these encounters required hugs, smiles, and laughter.Then, of course, I had to stop and say hello to Officers Lindsey and John, and their handsome mounts.

Day 3:) Pay It Forward and Random Acts of Kindness

I took Bella for a walk this morning. In the afternoon, I bumped into Jeremiah on the square, And I offered him my slice of pizza left over from lunch. Then, on my way back to my car, I saw Erma (who I hadn’t seen in ages) and her husband walking down the street over by the Christmas sleigh display on the corner. I waved at her and said, “Wouldn’t you like your picture taken in the sleigh?” At first she hesitated then agreed. Now, they have a cute holiday picture to share with friends and family.

Isn’t that an adorable picture?

It was a lovely day after all. Just like in life, sometimes it starts out dark and dreary, but then the sun comes out to brighten your day.