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Sunday Sermon and Some Sidewalk Sketches

7 Mar

“It’s never too late to say you’re sorry. But first, you  have to say it, then more importantly, you have to mean it. Otherwise, it’s just more lies.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“You never depart from us, but yet, only with difficulties do we return to You.” 

― Saint Augustine, Confessions

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Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. We had a different Gospel at 9 o’clock Mass than all the other Masses, so we didn’t hear the Prodigal Son story. I always liked that one, so I’ll give you my view on it. The prodigal son returns home after taking off, and squandering away his inheritance, while the other son remained home, faithfully working hard for his father. The father rejoiced and prepared a feast for the repentant, starving son, and the good son was mad. So here’s the thing. A father can’t help but love his children. The prodigal son was very sorry, repentant, and knew how wrong he was. There’s the key…he was sorry. Unless you are sorry and repentant, I don’t think you can be forgiven. Just sayin’.

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The Gospel is from St. Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.

 This reading recounts the parable of the Prodigal Son, one of Jesus’ most beautiful parables. It teaches us once more that God is a kind and understanding Father. 

This is what he tells the faithful son…

He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;

everything I have is yours.

But now we must celebrate and rejoice,

because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

he was lost and has been found.’”

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After Mass, I took a two hour walk around the neighborhood. It’s a good time to think. I do a lot of thinking. I do a lot of walking. But, I’m never too contemplative to ignore the beauty along the way. I love when I stumble upon fun things like kids drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. It’s refreshing to see budding artists sharing their masterpieces.

   
   
 
Very talented children. 

  

Fantabulous Friday:) 50, 000 Views and Counting

5 Mar

” I never thought I’d get 500 views on my blog, much less 50,000. Now, I believe anything is possible.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“What the mind can conceive and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

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My goal when I first started writing my blog on January 1, 2013 was to see if I could write a blog every day for one entire. Well, I haven’t missed a day yet, more than three years later, I haven’t run out of things to say. Blog writing is like a drug. Once you start, you get hooked and can’t stop. 1,168 consecutive posts, hundreds of followers, this is what writing is all about.

I’ve made many interesting friends along the way. People that I probably will never meet, but I’ve become a part of their lives, and they have become a part of mine. It’s a very interesting world out there if you take the time to open your eyes.

I thought a few weeks ago that I was  getting very near to a landmark 50,000 views, but I thought I had a long way to go. When I looked yesterday at my stats, I found that I had already passed that magic number. Amazing!!! I am proud and honored and humbled and excited, all rolled into one bundle of ecstatic achievement. Thank you for reading., looking at all the goofy pictures, and not laughing too hard at me.Thank you for being a part of my life and my journey.

   
 Is this cool or what??????? Try and stop me from writing now! 

  

Theme Song Thursday:) Under Texas Skies

4 Mar

“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.” ― Elbert Hubbard

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We’ve had some beautiful warm weather here in McKinney, Texas. I went to Zumba at the Y this morning, then a nice long walk at 10. The sun was shining and the wind was strong, but exhilarating. I was pumped, and decided to get some massive housework done. I cleaned two bathrooms from stem to stern, including floors, mopped all the tile floors in hall and kitchen, and vacuumed. All this before I ate lunch…well, lunch was at 2. 

I was going to try and do some painting, but I decided an evening walk would be better served. Plus, I like to catch the sunset. It’s true… The skies at night are big and bright…da-da-da-da… Deep in the heart of Texas.

  
Every sunset is a miracle in the sky.

   
   

Theme Song Thursday:) If I Had a Hammer

19 Feb

“Life is all about building. We build relationships, a family, a home, and a better life for ourselves and others. Never put down your hammer, even when things get broken.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis
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“Sometimes while you are so passionately busy building, there will be others as busy destroying. Do not stop. One day you will notice how high above you get, and how down below they end up” 
― Sameh Elsayed

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This morning, I went to Zumba, went for a long walk, then decided that today was the day. Enough procrastinating! I was going to work on organizing my “craft” room. I call the room something else with a similar spelling, you know what I mean. I bought four sturdy plastic shelves months ago, and all I got accomplished was hauling them up the stairs. 

I figured if I tried to devote at least one hour a day on organizing, that maybe in a hundred days, I’d be done. (I have a lot of stuff. Very good, important, artsy stuff.) I climbed up the stairs around 3:30 and dragged the first unit into the middle of the floor and started to assemble. Four hours later, with a sore shoulder from pounding, dragging, lifting, and organizing, I managed to get all four shelves assembled, my long work table boxed up, ornaments put away, and glassware arranged. Now, I’m exhausted and hungry.

   
 
These three shelves were already there. Now, I need to organize a zillion bins onto the four new shelves. Perhaps another day, or month, or year. 

  
 

  
I’m building something new. Very symbolic!

Wednesday:) What Horsing Around Looks Like

18 Feb

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
~W. C. Fields**********

What a wonderful Wednesday. No alarm set, a cup of tea, talk to Mom, a long walk, then an even longer lunch at Snug with my friend Linda. It was a gorgeous sunny day on the Square. After lunch, I visited with Kathy and Elizabeth at Sweet Spot Bakery. 

The mounted patrol always passes by the bakery back door because Ranger and Ontario know that Miss Kathy has special treats for them.  

 
  
Just one of the many sights that makes McKinney a fun place to live or visit.

  
Good horse sense.

  
A small town with a big heart and great people.

Montage Monday and My Magnificent Sunset

16 Feb

A photo cannot capture that breathtaking feeling you get when you see a magnificent sunset, but it’s with a try.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My day in a nutshell…

  
I got up early to feed my doggie house guest, Miss Bella, and let her out. Went to my 8:30 kickboxing class at the YMCA, and it always kicks my butt and makes my brain work overtime, but I love it. Came home and took Bella for a long walk, lunch, emails, clean kitchen, procrastinate on Facebook, tinker on the piano, feed Bella, another walk, sit outside in the sun, more procrastinating, another quick walk to the pond to capture the glorious sunset…now, bore you with my day, and my week. I think I need a glass of wine!

Montage Monday…a week in a peek.
  
Now, for my magnificent sunset.  

   
Wouldn’t you agree?

Wednesday:) Why, What’s That On Your Head?

11 Feb

“All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.” 

― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. A day that we literally wear our hearts on our sleeves, or more like on our foreheads. A day to think about mortality, about what is really important in life. When I knelt to pray, I once again gave thanks and asked for continued strength. I prayed, “Change my heart.”  This made me think of one of my favorite hymns, “Change our hearts.” Well, guess what was the opening hymn. Yep, “Change our hearts.” This happened to me once before, over a year ago, and I sang and I cried. Today, I sang and I smiled. I smiled because my heart is changing. The pain of betrayal and anger is still there in my heart, but it’s softer now. A tiny bit softer. 

When I was at church with everyone else, it wasn’t unusual, but after Mass this morning, I needed to stop at the bank and the grocery store. At the store, I totally forgot I had ashes on my head because, well, I didn’t see myself. But, when people gave me a strange look, or a double take, then I remembered. At the bank, Independent Bank on Virginia, the girls there all know me. They just said, “Hi, Miss Toni. You just come from church?” I don’t even need to show a card or punch a code, they just type my name in on their screen, and take care of my transactions. That’s what I love about my town.

(AN EXPLANATION OF ASH WEDNEDSAY CATHOLIC TRADITION:)

St. Anthony Messenger

By Susan Hines-Brigger

Ashes to Ashes

If there ever is a day of the year when you can spot Catholics at a glance, Ash Wednesday is it. It is the one time when Catholics literally wear their faith on their foreheads. In fact, Masses on Ash Wednesday are better attended than Masses on most holy days, except Christmas.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics. The ashes we receive on our forehead in the shape of a cross serve as an outward sign of our sinfulness and need for penance. The ashes also symbolize our mortality, a reminder that one day we will die and our bodies will return to dust. Hence the traditional words, remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.
The tradition of receiving ashes has its origins in the Old Testament, where sinners performed acts of public penance. It was Pope Urban II who in the 11th century recommended that all Catholics take part in the practice of receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday. In the 12th century it became customary that the ashes used on Ash Wednesday were made by burning the previous year’s palm branches.

Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. According to Church law, Catholics older than the age of 14 are supposed to abstain from meat. In addition, those between the ages of 18 and 59, not including pregnant or nursing mothers, should eat only one full meal. Smaller amounts of food�not as much as a full meal�may be eaten in the morning and either at lunchtime or dinner, depending on when you eat your full meal.