Archive | September, 2016

Theme Song Thursday:) Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

22 Sep

“Not everyone believes in signs or divine intervention, but if you open your eyes and your heart, the signs are everywhere.”

~ Toni Armenta Andruakitis


It was already 90 degrees when I went for my morning walk yesterday. I started out slowly, but everywhere I walked, I was greeted by fluttering butterflies. So close I could almost touch them, (I have a couple of really good butterfly stories for another time.) Why were they so perky? Too dang hot out to be perky, but they lifted my spirits, and my pace quickened. Butterflies are the symbol of transformation. You know, metamorphosis, and all.

I wanted to get my walk in early enough so I could relax a few minutes, take a quick shower, and get to the doctor by 1 pm. Just a routine annual exam. You know the kind. Prevention is the best medicine. I’ve got the coolest doctor. Dr. Moolamalla. She is a friend, confidant, with a side order of medical knowledge. She got me through a tough time, and I adore her.

I left with a smile and handful of orders for tests, bloodwork and vaccines that us old folks should be getting. I’ll do that next week. I wanted to do some shopping down that way. Exciting stuff! I got a carbon monoxide detector and some solar lights at Lowe’s. But, when I stepped out of my car in the parking lot, guess what greeted me? Yep, a lucky feather.

Then, I drove over to the dollar store, and another feather.

This one was scrawnier. After all, it was the Dollar Store, but another feather right at my feet.

Over at Ross, yet again, right next to my car. A tiny feather. I looked around by ALL the other cars. No feathers there. Hmm? Go ahead, say coincidence, but my eyes and heart are open.

That was enough shopping for me. I had to run home and bake brownies. Some brownies for Miss Sandy and some for divorce support group at church.

I arrived at St. Gabriel’s a few minutes late, popped out of my car and…no, not a feather, but rather, a lucky nickel. Right there by my foot. Five times luckier than a penny!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

21 Sep

“The best things in life are a warm smile, an honest heart, homemade gifts, hugs and kisses, and warm just out of the oven brownies.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My house smells of freshly baked brownies. Mmmm! My oven is well loved and gets a lot of use. So, what’s been cookin’, you ask. Well, I’ve been doing some baking. Yesterday, it was handpainted wine glasses, champagne flutes and vases. Yes, I bake them in the oven. It helps to heat set them. I was experimenting with some new painting techniques and trying to come up with something turquoise.

I thought a beach scene, perhaps.

A couple of champagne flutes. Hmmm?

I experimented with some frosted glass and silver Sharpie pen. Not bad?

A monochromatic vase?

But, my very favorite thing to bake in the oven is….. Drum roll please…..yes! Brownies. 

The kitchen smells divine. I’m baking some brownies for Miss Sandy down the street. She had surgery yesterday, and hopefully she is home, resting, and feeling good enough to have a brownie. I upsurge hope so.

The brownies are still warm, but I’m pretty cool!

Tuesday:) Today’s Terrific Slideshow Brought to you by…GOD

21 Sep

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” ― Ishmael Beah


Another steamy Texas day, but I still went to Zumba and got out for my walks. My evening walks are my favorite part of my day. The sunsets are always an amazing painting in the sky. As I walk, the sky changes right before my eyes. 

This evening, I saw Mr. Gary sitting on his bench with his sweet dog, Maggie. I stopped to take a short rest, pet Maggie, and chat with Mr. Gary.

As I continued my walk and rounded the corner, the fiery sky was breathtaking. It was so magnificent that people were standing outside their houses, staring at the sky, just as I was.

See…I told you so. Breathtaking, 

Then, I walked down a different street, not on my usual route, trying to catch this fantastic sunset. There at my feet, a lucky penny. Yep, another lucky day.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

20 Sep

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” 

― John Berger


A week of glorious sunrises and amazing sunsets, old friends, and new acquaintances. What is captured by the camera is captured by the heart. 

Sunday Sermon and Something Spiritual

19 Sep

“God puts many people in your path, but ultimately, you are the only one who can choose which path to follow.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


We had a doozie of a downpour this morning around 6:30 a.m. My alarm was set for 7, but I actually reached over to change it to 7:30, thinking that if it’s still storming, I’ll wait to go to a later Mass instead of my usual greeting before 9 o’clock Mass. 

As luck would have it, the storm passed quickly, and by 8:00 it was already warm and sunny. So, off I went.

Today’s Gospel was about the steward who squandered his rich master’s money. He decided, since he was being fired, that he would go to the rich man’s debtors, and renegotiate their debt, giving them a lesser payment. This way, the debtors would be happy and the steward would be in their good graces if he needed their help. Then, the rich man heard this, and instead of being angry, he commended the steward. That was the confusing part.

My take on it, with a little insight from the Loyola Press is… Even if you make some bad mistakes, you have to look to the future. You try and make things right. At the end it said, you cannot serve two masters. If money and greed are your master, you can’t expect to serve God. 


After Mass, I usually meet Mr. Jerry, who sits behind me, over at McDonald’s for coffee, but he was on vacation. I decided to scoot over to Walmart to get one of those big bouncy exercise balls, so I can sit and bounce and watch tv. While I was in the produce aisle, I bumped into a lady I saw at church. I said, “Hi, I saw you at Mass this morning.” She smiled and complimented me on my red shirt, and I told her that I loved her pretty blouse. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, then parted with a quick, “See you next Sunday.”

A good forty-five minutes later, I was deciding which check-out lane to try when I bumped into Rose-Marie again. This time we stopped to chat. She asked where I lived and if I went to evening adoration. We decided to exchange phone numbers and said that maybe we could meet sometime for coffee. I told her that I was an artist and writer, and I wrote a daily blog, just about people and places around town. I got out my phone and said, “Selfie time.” She just giggled, a little embarrassed, and I said, “Unless you’re in witness protection, I hope it’s ok to take a picture and write about our meeting.”

I went on to tell Rose-Marie that I’ve found that God puts interesting people in my path, and perhaps we were meant to meet on this nice sunny Sunday.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take more than one quick pictures, so you can’t see her big gorgeous dark eyes.

As we got to talking, my new friend shared that she was a charismatic. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she explained that God has blessed her with the gift of sharing his words. She talks to people and God tells her what to tell them. Not like a psychic or anything like that. But, I do believe that some people have gifts and powers that can’t be explained. Anything is possible.

She looked right into my eyes and said, “God tells me that you are a very loving and giving person. You share your joy with many people. You have a special light.” Well, gosh. I already knew that…just kidding. But, it’s easy to see that. I always smile and laugh and talk to strangers. That’s my personality. 

Now, here’s  the strange spiritual part. She continued to compliment me about all my attributes as I smiled and then she said, “But, God wants you not to worry so much about the past. You need to move forward. He has great plans for you.” 

Oh my, tears started to form in my eyes. Why did this almost total stranger, who only saw a cheery smiling woman in a bright red shirt in the produce aisle at Walmart, why did she say, God wants you not worry about the past?” Yes, as my sister said, this could apply to half the population, but I truly believe that our paths were meant to cross and she was there to tell me something. AND! It really doesn’t matter if it is a fact, it’s what I believe and what she believes that makes it true. Before we parted our separate ways, we hugged in the middle of Walmart and promised to keep in touch. 

Anyway, I just thought that was an interesting story of fate, kismet, destiny, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe God was telling me that I have something good to look forward to, and not to dwell on on my past and my pain. I’ve been trying to do that, but a little shove in the right direction is always helpful.

There are many paths and many people to meet along the way. I hope I get a chance to spend more time with and get to know Miss Rose-Marie.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Cookin’

18 Sep

Pursue your passion and live your best life.” ― Lailah Gifty Akit


I’ve mentioned before that I have a Master’s Degree in Procrastination. It took me over six decades to achieve such a goal, but needless to say, I put it off many times. All kidding aside, I’ve been wanting to paint some wine glasses for a couple of months, but always had an excuse not to start. I need a five or six hour window to sit and paint focused and undisturbed.

Painting on glass is one of my passions. It is immediate gratification. Everyone loves the final product. What’s not to like? Wine glasses and vases are beautiful and utilitarian, making perfect gifts and decorative displays.

Once I decided to start, I set up all my supplies, turned on the tv upstairs, half-watched-listened to five or six episodes of “Murder She Wrote,” and painted until I finished painting a dozen long stemmed wine glasses.

I let them dry/cure at least twenty-four hours, then bake in a cold oven at 350 for 30 minutes, leaving undisturbed for at least four hours.

They turned out great, if I don’t say so myself…and I do.

I also gave a second coat to one of my favorite winter vases.

I am very blessed to be able to do what I love. I love making beautiful things, teaching others to make beautiful things, and I’ve made a beautiful life for myself. I also like to think that I’ll leave the world a little bit more beautiful than I found it.

Friday:) Friendly Skies, a Feather and a Penny

17 Sep

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ― Rabindranath Tagore


I walked this morning for about an hour and a half. It was hot and muggy, but walking is always my thinking time. While I was striding along, I saw a young woman on the other side of the road. I crossed the street, introduced myself, and started chatting. She didn’t live in the neighborhood, but was just walking while her daughter was at a dance lesson. With no particular agenda, I just walked her direction, so we walked down some streets I normally don’t travel. That’s when I found a lucky penny in the street. I haven’t found one in a while. “The road less traveled.”

Later, when I had lunch with my friend Diane, we walked out the door, and there on the sidewalk by my feet, was lucky feather.

When I got home, I was exhausted. I was up till almost 3 a.m. after painting a dozen wine glasses all night. I decided to take a leisurely lap around 4. When I woke up, it was already 6:45 and it would be getting dark soon. I almost talked myself out of my evening walk, but I really love to capture the evening skies and the sunset on my walks. Every evening is a work of art. I scrambled, put on my gym shoes, and ran out the door. Well worth the effor. THE FRIENDLY SKIES.

These are all from my one hour walk. The grand finale was the Harvest Moon in the night sky.

Now, you can see why I love my evening walks and THE FRIENDLY SKIES.