Archive | February, 2019

Thankful Thursday:) “Once Lost”

28 Feb

They once were lost, but now they’re found

My gloves had fallen on the ground

I had them last at church on Sunday

Not in the lost and found on Monday

I searched for days, but they weren’t there

So, I knelt down and said a prayer

Back to the lost and found I went

The box was full and torn and bent

There at the bottom, I could see

My happy gloves smile up at me.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This is a true story. Two weeks ago, it was really cold on Sunday and greeting before Mass. I wore my sock monkey hat and the cute puppet gloves my sister graciously gave me for Christmas. ((Actually, I saw them on her table and kinda begged and asked if I could have them.) So, after Mass, I checked my pockets and they weren’t there. I had my hat, but no cute gloves. I went back to my seat and couldn’t find them. I was sad. 😔

I went to check the lost and found on Monday. Nope! I thought for sure someone would turn in the cute gloves. Then, I imagined that maybe a little girl found them and maybe they were meant to find a new owner, and make someone else smile.

Just on a whim today, I decided to go to Adoration to say some special prayers for family and friends and some special people with health problems. Afterwards, I walked across the street to the office to check the lost and found just one more time. I really didn’t expect to find them.

There at the very bottom of the overstuffed crumpled old box, those little happy faces smiled up at me. Happy face…😀

It’s going to be really cold all week, but my happy gloves will keep me warm. And thanks to my guardian angel for making sure my gloves were there. Not to mention the kind person that returned them. 😇

Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday:) What Do YOU See?

27 Feb

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”

― John Lubbock

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When I took my first step out of the front door this morning, I saw something glistening in the grass. We had a misty rain all night, so there were droplets poised on the grass and clinging to the trees. When I took a closer look, I thought maybe it was bubble wrap because of the intricate webbed design. I’m still not sure what it is, but it sure is beautiful.

Not to be outdone, Mother Nature provided another beautiful illusion on the street. Some might say it looks like someone’s car was leaking gas or oil. What do you see?

Look closely. I see an angel. Can you see it? My mind just works that way. Don’t feel bad if you just see a colorful gas spill.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day~Pineapple Vodka

27 Feb

“Be creative while inventing ideas, but be disciplined while implementing them.”

― Amit Kalantri

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I love fresh pineapple, but not so fond of all the work involved in cutting and trimming, not to mention all the waste. I also heard that fresh pineapple was better than cough medicine for helping a bad cough. It’s loaded with vitamin C, helps digestion, loaded with fiber, may reduce allergy symptoms, and much more.

Well, pineapples were on sale, so I bought two. I wasn’t sure how to cut it up efficiently, so I asked some friends at the senior center who bring fresh pineapples for the pot luck every Monday how they cut them. Once I cut off the bottom and the four sides, the center portion and thick core was intact. But, so much waste.

Light bulb moment… that inedible core still has a lot of flavor, so I could use it to infuse flavor into water or juice. Better yet, I could infuse it in some vodka. Then, there would be very little waste. Brilliant…and delicious.

I had enough delicious fresh pineapple for several days, and now I have a couple of mason jars with pineapple vodka. This will be yummy with orange juice on the rocks.

Here are some pineapple facts…but remember…too much of anything is not a good thing.

Nutrition facts

Here are the nutrition facts for raw pineapple, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Serving size: 1 cup chunks (165 g)

Amount per Serving (%DV*)

*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Calories 82

Calories from Fat 0

Amt per Serving

%DV*

Total Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 2mg

0%

Potassium 120mg

3%

Total Carbohydrate 15g

5%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

8%

   Sugars 11g

 

Protein 1g

Vitamin A

2%

Vitamin C

131%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

The nutritional profile for canned pineapple is different from raw pineapple. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, canned pineapple in light syrup has 131 calories per cup and 31.88 grams of sugar. It also contains fewer vitamins and minerals. If you do opt for canned pineapple, try to get it with no added sugar or look for a variety that is canned in fruit juice instead of syrup.

Health benefits

Immune system support

Pineapple contains all of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, according to the FDA. Vitamin C is a primary water-soluble antioxidant that fights cell damage, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. This makes vitamin C a helpful fighter against problems such as heart disease and joint pain.

Bone strength

Pineapple may help you keep standing tall and strong. The fruit contains nearly 75 percent of the daily-recommended value of the mineral manganese, which is essential in developing strong bones and connective tissue, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. One 1994 study suggested that manganese, along with other trace minerals, may be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. 

Eye health

“Pineapples can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age, due in part to its high amount of vitamin C and the antioxidants it contains,” Flores said. 

Digestion

Like many other fruits and vegetables, pineapple contains dietary fiber, which is essential in keeping you regular and in keeping your intestines healthy, according to the Mayo Clinic. But unlike many other fruits and veggies, pineapple contains significant amounts of bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein, possibly helping digestion, according to the American Cancer Society.

Anti-Inflammatory benefits

“Due to a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the core of the pineapple, well known as bromelain, pineapples can help reduce severe inflammation … and can reduce tumor growth,” Flores said. A variety of studies have indicated that bromelain may be helpful in treating osteoarthritis, though more research is needed. 

Excessive inflammation is often associated with cancer, and according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, bromelain and other proteolytic enzymes have been shown to increase the survival rates of animals with various tumors. There is not yet, however, clinical evidence to show that such results will happen in humans. 

Blood clot reduction

Flores noted that because of their bromelain levels, pineapples can help reduce excessive coagulation of the blood. This makes pineapple a good snack for frequent fliers and others at risk for blood clots.

Common cold and sinus inflammation

In addition to having lots of vitamin C, pineapple’s bromelain may help reduce mucus in the throat and nose, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. So if your cold has you coughing, try some pineapple chunks. Those with allergies may want to consider incorporating pineapple into their diets more regularly to reduce sinus mucus.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

26 Feb

“When every day is a blessing, the weeks and months and years are nothing but amazing.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Monday is such a fun day to look back at all the fun activities with friends, and FaceTime visits with my beautiful family. A picture is worth a thousand words and a thousand blessings.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff~ Forgiveness

24 Feb

“Turning the other cheek isn’t submissive. It’s defiant.”

Roy H. Williams

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A glorious sunny day for my first Mass in our new St. Gabriel the Archangel church. Mary and I were positioned at the huge heavy doors on the right, and others were at the doors on the left. Interesting observation… although everyone walked up the center stairs, the majority of people entered on the right side. I momentarily flattered myself by thinking that it was because people wanted to say good morning to me and Mary. Then, it occurred to me that people are creatures of habit, and mostly right handed and right brained, thus entering on the right. Well, so much for flattery.

The huge heavy wooden doors were difficult to keep opening and closing. Mary joked and said that she and I would need to alternate pulling the doors open so as to strengthen both sides of our biceps, because we were getting a workout. I feel stronger already.

The service was beautiful and the bishop and several guest priests joined in officiating.

Today’s Gospel was the old familiar “turn the other cheek” story. Gosh, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? It goes on to tell us to love our enemies, forgive our debtors and those who have hurt us, be compassionate to all and do not judge, and treat others as you would like people to treat you.

Gospel, Luke 6:27-38

27 ‘But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.

29 To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic…

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My take on it… as the quote says…

“Turning the other cheek isn’t submissive. It’s defiant.”

Roy H. Williams

I think you can turn the other cheek in defiance, BUT in my humble personal opinion, you can only turn your cheek so many times until it turns into abuse and cruelty. I don’t believe God wants anyone to be abused. Yes, stand up and show your strength by not flinching at the first slap, but then it’s time to walk away.

Yes, pray for your enemies and those who hurt you, but you don’t have to be a punching bag. You can loan money and be generous and forgive the debt, but you don’t have to let people rob you at gun point and say, “Thanks, anything else I can do for you?”

Now, here’s the part I have been struggling with for a LONG time…FORGIVE and you will be forgiven. I honestly pray for those who have hurt me, and I try to be kind and generous at all times, but to forgive everyone for anything?

We’ve had this discussion in our support group at church and I generally get a sideways look when we discuss forgiveness. When someone says God forgives everyone of all their sins no matter what, then I have to disagree. I do believe if you are sincerely sorry for something you have done, then God will forgive, and so would I. But, you can’t murder, steal, lie, cheat, betray, stab people in the back and harm others without remorse, and just spit in God’s face and expect all to be forgiven. Nope! Otherwise, why bother having commandments or rules or morals. Just take what you want and do as you please, all is forgiven. Who cares? Everyone goes to heaven, open doors, murder away. No, no, no! (You can tell this is a sore subject with me.) Sincere remorse or regret and asking for forgiveness is necessary. (Just my opinion.)

I’d love to hear your view or comments on the subject. Feel free to say what you think or blast me out of the water. “I’ll turn the other cheek.”

Saturday and Some Spectacular Sunsets

24 Feb

Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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I haven’t been out walking in time to catch the beautiful sunsets in such a long time. It’s either been cloudy or drizzly or I’m driving off somewhere and miss my photo ops. Tonight, I went for a second walk before dark (I got in 4.6 miles today), and kept strolling until the crimson sun was just barely kissing the dusty dark horizon. I could have stood there forever watching God put on His magic watercolor night-time light show right in my own backyard. (Well, actually down the street a little ways.)

Friday:) Frumpy Days Call for Friends, Food and of Course…Chocolate

23 Feb

“You’re not going to be dreary on the inside if you’re not dreary on the outside.”

~Alexandra Stoddard

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When is it going to quit raining already? It was dark and gloomy and drizzly this morning. I walked the dog in the rain around 8, then it was so gloomy that I decided to hop back under the covers. I decided if I could fall asleep, great. If not, I would get up and go to Zumba. Hmm… Zumba was fun.

After an exhilarating class, I stopped for a quick drink with Mr. Doug, I’m such a party girl. When you get old, stopping for a drink means coffee or iced tea at McDonald’s. Then, I stopped at Lynne’s for a visit because she had some extra glass vases and things that she thought I could paint. Then, a quick stop at Kroger.

By the time I got home, I was starving. My fridge is so full, the decisions were endless. Let’s see, I’ll try and be good. After all, tonight is Black Russian Friday.

Fruit and hot tea to warm up on a frumpy Friday. What else can perk up a dreary day? Chocolate, of course. So much for being good.

I hope you’re having a great Friday. Dreary and gloomy is only on the outside. So, let your inner sunshine glow and dance in the rain.

Thursday:) This is Worth Repeating

21 Feb

“A beautiful story must be shared over and over again.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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When I checked my Facebook page this morning, this memory from last year came up. Everyone I share this story with gets goosebumps when they hear it. So, I’m sharing it again today. It’s beautiful. Only angels can send these signs…

Pennies From Heaven:) A True Story About An Angel

22

FEB

If you don’t believe in angels

I’m here to say it’s true

There are angels up in heaven

They’re watching over you,

So, I asked my angel mother

I whispered in her ear

When you get up there in heaven

Please show us you are near.

If only you could send a sign

As only angels can

We will know you’re safe in heaven

And that you have a plan.

To watch and guard us every day

You’ll guide us from above

So, you left two lucky pennies

Beneath your painting, signed with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This is a true story of faith and love and angels. As my sweet mother grew weaker and less alert, my sister and I would talk to her and sing to her. I prayed the rosary out loud to comfort Mom during her final days. One of the last things I whispered in her ear was, “Please Mom, when you get up to heaven, could you show us a sign that you’re OK, that there really is a heaven? I know if anyone could do it, you could. I know you’ll always be my guardian angel.”

We’ve done a lot of crying since Mom passed away last week, but today, the crying was a celebration. Mom left us a sign. Those of you who know me, you already know that I believe in lucky pennies. They always appear out of nowhere when I need them most. I always look up to heaven and say, “Thank you.”

This afternoon, my sister and I went out for some lunch. We’ve spent days and days sorting and reminiscing and making arrangements and crying, It’s been a whirlwind, so it was good to get out of the house for a little while. My sister said, “Let’s go to the library so I can vote. They have early voting, and we can return Mom’s audio-books.”

Well, early voting hadn’t started yet, so we just returned the books and got a bit teary-eyed, because Mom loved the library and all the people. She had donated her very large “Cinco de Mayo” painting to the library several years ago. It takes up an entire wall on the second floor. When I asked my sister if she needed any books or videos while we were there, she said, “Not really, let’s just go home.” Then I said, “Should we go upstairs and see Mom’s mural before we go?” Of course, we needed to do that.

The elevator opened and we walked ever so slowly towards the mural.

There on the bench, right beneath her painting, were two lucky pennies from heaven. We both burst into tears as I blurted out, “Here’s our sign. I asked Mom to send us a sign. Here it is! Two pennies, not just one. What are the chances that they would be here waiting for us today, right beneath her painting?”

I hadn’t told my sister the story about asking Mom to send us a sign right before she passed away, until that moment. If she didn’t believe in angels before, I’m pretty sure she does now. We both knew Mom was an angel here on earth, but now, we both know that she’s up in heaven. She gave us a sign.

Thanks Mom.

What does “Pennies from Heaven” mean?

You might have come across this phrase “pennies from heaven?” It’s meaning is not as simple as it sounds. Thinking about it just means pennies being tossed down from the heaven, which has no significant meaning. But, let me enlighten you about the true meaning of this phrase. Pennies from heaven indicate the occasion when angels miss you and therefore, toss down a penny from the heaven that you receive. That penny signifies the fact that some angel in heaven is missing you and therefore wants to communicate with you.

Spiritual meaning of finding pennies

We all are aware of the fact that numbers are attached with a significant spiritual meaning but, have you ever wondered that pennies might have spiritual meaning attached to them too? If not, you will know soon.

The spiritual meaning of finding pennies from heaven is that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. It is a sign from the Heaven and our loved ones who have passed away. The sign indicates that there is magic in the world we live in, and those that have passed away are watching over us in a spiritual way; it’s their way of showing love and reminding you that they still are a part of your life.

(From Blog of the Angels)

Tags: Angels, everyday life, miracles, pennies from heaven, Poetry, quotes, true story

Wednesday:) Where Angels Wing

20 Feb

“We all have a Guardian Angel who is loving, kind and caring, who’ll be there when we need someone to share the load we’re bearing.”

― Anonymous

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The gloomy grey skies from yesterday burst into glorious sunshine today. You know why? This morning was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Catholic Church in McKinney. The Angels would not allow a gloomy rainy day. Parishioners, staff, friends, family, neighbors and local dignitaries gathered on this beautiful Wednesday morning for the ribbon cutting ceremony at St. Gabriel the Archangel. Dedications and Masses will begin this weekend.

A beautiful new church for a beautiful caring community.

Angels guide and guard the way.

Stunning stained glass windows surround the sanctuary to brighten even the gloomiest day. But today, the sun illuminated the interior.

May your Guardian Angels guide and protect you always. I know mine do. I have a few, but my angel mother is and has always been my champion.

Tuesday:) Two For The Road

20 Feb

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

~Robert Frost

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It was a gloomy rainy morning. I was too lazy to get up at 7 and walk the dog early so I could go to Zumba at 8:15. So, I didn’t set the alarm and figured I’d go to the 10:30 Zumba gold class instead. I was in the park with Bella at 10 am when my cell phone rang. Sherri Murphy asked if I wanted to go on a road trip to Sulphur Springs, about an hour and a half away. I said it sounded like a great rainy day alternative. “Two for the road.”

Sherri picked me up at 10:30 and off we went, taking all the back winding roads. I turned on YouTube and played the song “Rainy Days and Mondays,” as we sang along with the windshield wipers swiping back and forth in rhythm.

We pulled off the side of the road on the way into town for a photo op at the Dairy Museum. Who doesn’t want a photo in front of two giant cows in the rain?

The streets were pretty empty and most the shops were closed, but thank goodness the restaurants were open, because we were starving. A very nice lady at one of the gift shops gave us the scoop on the best places to eat. We chose the Redneck Cafe.

When we finally finished with our yummy lunch of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits and gravy, we ventured out into the pouring rain. Hmmm? I don’t think we ran into more than one or two pedestrians the entire afternoon. The rain never let up, so we took a few pictures and headed home.

Hopkins County Courthouse, beautiful even in the pouring rain.

Thanks for a great rainy day road trip, Sherri Murphy…or should I call you THELMA? Or do you want to be Louise?