Tag Archives: photography

Wednesday:) Where Ya Been Miss Toni

23 Nov

“You know you’re having a great adventure when you can’t get WIFI or cell phone reception.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Well, yesterday I wrote about my adventures at the Rio Grande, thinking of my ancestors and the people on the other side of the river.

Today, I want to share just a few photos from Big Bend National Park. I have a few hundred, so I’ll spare you the ordeal of sifting through them all.

I’m back in McKinney, with WIFI and cell phone reception. Yay!

The highlights. These are probably the ones I’d like to paint in watercolor… next chance I get. I took my paints with me, but didn’t get around to painting. My New Year’s resolution.

Some gorgeous scenery, glorious sunsets, and desert beauty.

Sunday Sermon and Some More San Antonio Missions

20 Nov

Make your life a mission – not an intermission.

~Arnold H. Glasow

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This morning, we attended Mass at the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. It’s a beautiful ornate church, complete with gold gilding, statues, carvings, and pius atmosphere.

Today’s Gospel was the parable of the talents. A man gave one servant 5 talents, another 2 talents, and the third 1 talent. When the master returned, the men given 5 and 2 talents doubled their money while the man given 1 buried his. The master was pleased with the first two and rewarded them, and the last, who buried the money was scorned and cast out.

My take on it… here the term talent refers to money, but we could relate it to talents or gifts. God may give some people more gifts or talents than others, but we are obliged to use our gifts, share them, make them grow, and use them to the best of our ability. If we waste our talents and are lazy or selfish, we will not be rewarded in the end.

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Now, for the lovely historic missions.

The four southernmost Spanish colonial missions—Concepción,  San José, San Juan and Espada  —are included in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which officially opened in 1983. These four missions, along with the Alamo, have been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). Land for the Historical Park was donated by the city, county, state, Catholic Church and San Antonio Conservation Society. The missions are walled compounds encompassing a church and buildings where the priests and local Native Americans lived and worked.

Mission Concepcion.

Mission San Jose

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission Espada

My mission was to see all the five historical missions in San Antonio. Mission accomplished.

I lit a candle and said a fervent prayer for friends and family. If you are reading this, you are in my prayers too.

Wednesday:) What Lies In The Shadows

9 Nov

“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.” 

― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

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What lies in the shadows, what sings in the sun?

Gray clouds hide the moon,  when evening is done.


 Soft simmer of sunset, whispering wheat in the night

What lies in the shadows, will glow in the light.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

Saturday at St. Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique and a Sunset

5 Nov

“We fellowship with God when we fellowship with people” ― Sunday Adelaja

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Today was St. Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique. It’s always a wonderful combination of fabulous crafters and devoted volunteers. The Women’s Club and Knights of Columbus organized, set up, cooked and prepared for this annual event. I ran into a lot of good friends and found many treasures for my holiday gift giving. 


The first encounter was my friend Mary and her lovely daughter and family. Mary and I greet at the door before 9 o’clock Mass pretty much every Sunday. We had lunch together, and the Knights of Columbus started preparing food and arranging tables around 5 am. 


I hadn’t seen my good friend Bonita in quite a while. She was volunteering with the crafting women’s group. Always a big smile and a hug.


Gosh, I haven’t seen Paula since last year’s Boutique. We used to play tennis together. I haven’t played in years. She is an amazing player. I’m an old has been. She makes lovely jewelry with sports teams and local scool logos and mascots. 

Another fun friend, Krys, sews, knits, crochets and creates beautiful craft items. I picked up a little treasure for my Baby Belle. Krys was another friend who used to come and volunteer with me at Towne Creek. She taught the ladies origami and jewelry making and many other crafts that I have no talent for or ability. 



I came home with a big bag of treasures, not to mention a dozen tamales that the Knights were selling on the way out. 

It was a beautiful afternoon and evening. I made sure to stop inside the sanctuary and light a candle before I drove home, with a special intention and a heart filled with gratitude.


On my evening walk, I stopped at my neighbors open garage and joined Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy for a beer and conversation. The sunset blazed orange and gold in the western sky, reminding me of my blessings and the glorious scenery that God paints for us every day. 

This is my sunset….

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

31 Oct

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.

~William Makepeace

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Another week that snuck up out of nowhere and slid away just as fast. Friends, travel, getting lost, getting found, old friends, new friends, sunrise, sunset, and my beautiful baby Belle.

A peek into my week…


Friday:) Finding My Way Along The Way

28 Oct

“You don’t have to know where you’re going to get exactly where you need to go.” ― Marilyn A. Hepburn

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A glowing glorious sunrise can put things into perspective. Not only will the sun rise and set every day, but it will put on a spectacular magic light show in the sky if you take a minute to notice. Life goes on with us or without us. I say, “Buckle up and enjoy the ride.”


I’m a creature of habit, so I find myself walking along the same route every day. The nearby pond, ducks waddling along in the water, and the sky putting on a show, these are the sights and sounds that keep me grounded. I walk and I think. I sing and I pray. This is how I find my way.

And speaking of grounded, I always seem to stumble upon, literally, interesting items on the ground or on the street. This morning, while enjoying the sunrise, I saved someone from a flat tire and was generously rewarded with two lucky pennies. I’m rich, in every sense of the word.


I may get lost sometimes, but I’m always “finding my way along the way.”

Wednesday:) Where In The World Was Miss Toni? 

25 Oct

” Every time I travel, it’s an unbelievable adventure. That’s because I have no idea where the heck I am half the time. Unbelievable!” 

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” 

― C. JoyBell C.

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Yesterday, I told you about talking to a stranger at McDonald’s on my way home from Stillwater. And as promised, here’s my story about getting lost after that.

I really was proud of myself. I left Stillwater around 9:45 am, turned left at the second busy street, stopped for gas at the station just down the road from St. Francis Catholic Church on the right. (I need visual landmarks) I remembered that the I35 exit was the second one, as I needed to go south to Texas, not north to Canada, or what ever’s up there. I say that in my head…Texas south, Canada north. Traffic was fast and steady, and I tried to stay behind slower trucks in the right lane, but even they were going 75 or 80 mph. Yikes! I maneuvered through the change in lanes by Oklahoma City, staying in my left and not going to Tulsa. Good girl!

Feeling a bit confident, I decided to take a lunch break at McDonald’s in Marietta. (That’s where I met Tracy, the truck driver from yesterday’s blog,) I think because I took a long break, my time sequence in my head was a little off. Normally, I drive the 4 1/2 hours straight without stopping. So, when I tapped in my map and directions for home on my phone, Siri talked me through the u-turn and getting back onto I35. No problemo.

Zipping along, Siri told me to exit going towards Gainesville. Hmm? I didn’t remember that, but I knew there was a Denton bypass along the way, that had to be it. Right? Siri wouldn’t lie to me, would she? I exited and went down an industrial road that looked like the bypass. Good. About twenty minutes later, I was deep into farm, ranch and agricultural two lane roads. Uh oh! This didn’t look right. I kept driving and Siri kept leading me deeper into nowhere land. I was going to pull over, but there were only gated gravel farm or ranch gates that were closed. I was too nervous about pulling over and getting sideswiped by some sidewinder. (I was in Texas, after all.) 

The good news was, my car compass said I was going south and east. I did know I lived south and east of Oklahoma. The other nice thing was, wow, there was some awfully pretty country roads back there. I crossed a lot of rivers and saw long horns, sheep, goats, fields of cotton, horses, some humongous ranch mansions, and quaint old farm houses and barns. But… lost is lost, and I was lost. I finally pulled over by a rural church to reprogram Siri,  and give her a stern talking too. She didn’t cooperate. Maybe she got mad at me.


My journey continued along long winding FM roads. I navigated over Lake Kiowa, down to Tioga and Pilot Point, and around Aubrey, Siri had me go east towards Celina. On the map, those small roads look pretty straight forward, but I almost got as dizzy as when I went on that crazy ride at the state fair. See the big red line on the left…35? That’s where I was supposed to be until Denton. Now, see all those squiggly grey lines by Gainesville and the blue water. That’s where I zigged and zagged my way through north Texas.



Look folks! Cotton fields, as far as the eye could see. It looked like a blanket of snow along the roads.


Mostly what I saw was a lot of long winding roads going no where with no end in sight. But, I was going south and east. That was good..I think. Finally, Siri said turn on Preston Road. Yay! A familiar name. She led me into the back way past Meyers Park and down to Wilmeth. I never come from that direction, so when I saw the familiar cell tower…Ah, I was home. I could release the death grip from the steering wheel.

Being directionally challenged is not fun. Siri, I will never trust you again! I still have to call on you for help all the time, but I will never trust you again. 


My adventure was maybe only one and a half hours longer than it should have been, but I was rewarded with some lovely back road scenery and a gorgeous sunset.