Archive | January, 2015

Saturday: Sunshine, Shadows, and Saving the World

25 Jan

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Götz von Berlichingen

Sunny days make me smile. They also inspire me to go out for a brisk walk. I walked about an hour before my Saturday writing group at 10. It was a great session, and we actually got some work done in between the laughing and sarcasm. We have the sarcasm down to a science. We stopped for lunch afterwards.(Missed you, Julia) I ran a few errands and drove home.

The lovely sun was sinking slowly into the west, so I donned my gym shoes and headed out the door for an evening walk. (I walk a lot, as you may have noticed. It’s my quiet thinking time.) As the solar sphere made its shimmery descent, I was captivated by the sultry shadows cast along the way.

OK, now I’m just getting bizarre and smaltzy, using my high fillutin’ two dollar vernacular. Ha! Basically, I love shadows. I thought this one was very descriptive.

My shadow between the crossroads and the stop sign of life…think about it. Pretty cool!

Then, of course, as I stroll and patrol the streets, I’m always finding nails and sharp objects. So, I don my super hero cape, pick up the nails, and save the world from mass destruction and flat tires. Here is a week’s worth of super hero activity. I also find lucky pennies and coins as payment for my hard work.

It was a lovely Saturday. I enjoyed the sunsine, the shadows, and saving the world.


Friday: Funny Story

24 Jan

“Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.”
― Chuck Klosterman
Ok, I was saving this funny story for a rainy day. It rained all day yesterday, and today it was sunny, but I’ll share it anyway.

It all started a couple of months before Christmas, I got a phone call from my friend, Magda, who said, “Toni, I got a call from this elderly gentleman who is looking for someone who does china painting. I know you paint on glass, but do you paint on china?” I told her that I hadn’t before, but maybe I could give it a try.

She went on to explain, “Dan had a local artist paint bluebonnets on a special porcelain Christmas gift for his wife every year. He has been doing this for over thirty years. She passed away last year, but he wants to continue the tradition.”

Well, I thought to myself, poor dear, sweet man. His wife passed away and he wants to continue honoring her memory by having this gift made every year. Of course I would do it. I called Dan and we agreed to meet so I could see what he wanted me to paint. I met him at Snug on the Square, and he brought a couple of small white porcelain pieces with painted bluebonnets inscribed with “Sue” on the front and “Love Dan” and the date on the back. He described the glass curio cabinet with the dozens of gifts lining the shelves, and how she treasured each one.

This broke my heart. I told Dan that I’d find a special white piece and paint it for him. I spent weeks scouring antique shops and resale stores looking for just the right object.

I painted a beautiful white fan shaped covered glass box and called Dan. He was pleased that I finished the piece before Christmas. I asked when he’d like to meet to pick it up. He said, “Sue is out of town until tomorrow, and I have my Rotary Club meeting on Friday. How about Friday morning?”

Did you catch the part about…SUE IS OUT OF TOWN? I thought Sue was dead! All this time, I thought I was helping this grieving elderly widower continue his longtime Christmas tradition. Sue wasn’t dead. The lady who used to paint the project for him passed away. Boy, did I feel silly!

I told my friends and family about my silly mix-up. I just laughed and said, “Well, Friday, I have to go meet Dan and give him his bluebonnet gift for his not so dead wife Sue.” I met Dan Friday morning, and showed him the piece He was so happy. He said, “Sue doesn’t have anything like this. She’s going to love it. Thank you!”

I never let on or told Dan that I thought his wife was dead. Some things are best left unsaid. But you have to admit, it was kind of funny. Next time I’m asked to paint something for a dead person, I’m going to make sure I heard the story correctly.
“Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.”
― Chuck Klosterman
Yes, Chuck, I tend to agree.


Here’s Dan and the gift for his very much alive wife, Sue.


Theme Song Thursday: Learning a New Thing

23 Jan

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
A group of ladies from the Art Club of McKinney had the extreme pleasure of attending an alcohol ink painting workshop with Maribeth Jagger today. The group met at Maribeth’s daughter’s studio, Legacy Dance Center in Frisco.(Not Plano as I stated in the video. I didn’t know where the heck I was. Lynne drove.)

Not only was the workshop amazing, but Maribeth outdid herself by giving us all a basket of supplies and tools to work with, and several hands-on demonstrations. Everyone created fabulous works of art and learned many new techniques. THANKS, MARIBETH!

Here’s a little snippet of the workshop. Frisco, TX.

Wonderful workshop Maribeth! Thank you!


Lynda Kingsley sat next to me. I was impressed and extremely jealous.

Lynne Weinberger was having fun.

Here are a few of my masterpieces.

So, my friends, learning something new makes for a great day.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

22 Jan

“What you think about yourself is more important than what others think about you.”
― Debasish Mridha
It is true, how we feel about and see ourselves is the most important thing. And you know what? I’m pretty proud of myself. I like who I am, and I know I’m a good, honest, loyal, faithful person, and…I like myself.

But, I have to admit, I think it’s very important what others think about me, too. I have had the great honor of having dozens of friends tell me that I’ve made a difference in their lives, and they feel blessed to know me. MAN… It doesn’t get better than that! If you can positively influence just one person in your lifetime, “ya done good.”

I saw this cute cartoon on Facebook that made me smile. As I get older, I don’t see a little old lady in my shadow, I see a young ballerina that loves to dance, and sing, and play.

This morning, while I was walking and the sun reflected my shadow on the street. I contemplated my shadow, the reflection of who I am. I smiled and took this picture with my phone.

My jacket was wrapped around my waist, and my shadow reminded me of the cartoon…a young ballerina dancing in the sun. That’s how I see myself.

Have a great day my friends. I’m sending you a hug!


Tuesday: Toni’s Tip of the Day: Use Your Pretty Broom

21 Jan

“The great art of giving consists in this the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.”
― Baltasar Gracián
Another beautiful day here in McKinney. After my one hour Zumba class this morning, I went for a long walk and soaked up the sunshine. When I came home, I remembered that the garage needed some sweeping. I have a regular broom, but I noticed the decorative broom that my mom had painted for me some fifteen or more years ago. So, I decided to use it to sweep. It was a broom, after all.

While I was sweeping, I thought, “I should use my pretty things instead of saving them for a rainy day.” Why do we save the fine china or the good silver for special occasions only? Life is short. We should enjoy our things now. So, I used my beautiful broom, and I smiled, thinking about my beautiful mom who can turn a plain old household broom into a work of art.

My gift cost very little, but is greatly coveted and highly appreciated.


Another tip: Mother’s are very special people, so don’t forget to tell them how much you love and appreciate them. I call my mother EVERY DAY and tell her.


Montage Monday and a Little MLK

20 Jan

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
In honor of Dr. King, I’d like to share a few quotes. I especially like this one about faith. Sometimes the first step is the hardest and the scariest,


A week in a peek.


Sunday Sermon and Some More Sunshine

19 Jan

“You and I read the same books and hear the same sermons and we come away with different messages. That has to be evidence of some serious problem, right?”
― Dave Eggers, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
Here’s my take on today’s Gospel. Sometimes I come away with a different message, too.

When the two disciple followed Jesus, He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They weren’t sure, but they knew something important was happening and they needed to follow. Jesus said, “Come, and you will see.”

I’m not sure what I am looking for or what’s going to happen next either, but I will follow. All we can do is be honest, faithful, loyal, loving and kind. If we believe and follow these teachings of our faith, then…well…then we will see.

Gospel JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day…
After Mass, I stopped at the store, then came home, put on my gym shoes and went for a long walk. It was a beautiful, gloriously sunny day. The three little ducks that inhabit the nearby pond were quacking and waddling around. The sad part was, a lot of garbage and plastic debris from the previous windy days had found its way to the shoreline. The busy duck family bobbed and searched around the garbage looking for food. I thought to myself, “It doesn’t matter what the neighborhood looks like or how bad the situation is, if the family is together, that’s all that matters.” That goes for ducks and people.

I so desperately wanted to hold on to the warmth of the day, so after my walk, I placed a lawn chair at the end of the garage by the driveway, plopped down with my chair facing the setting sun, and closed my eyes, absorbing every melting moment. (I caught myself dozing off with a nod several times.) It was glorious!