Monday:) McKinney Creative Community

10 Sep

“Creative geniuses redefine the desired solution. They don’t just push the envelope; they create a whole new courier system.”

― Puneet Bhatnagar

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McKinney has become quite the cultural arts district in North Texas, and it continually grows and expands. The behind the scenes art community is well represented at the monthly McKinney Creative Community potluck meeting every second Monday of the month at The Cove.

Our meetings begin with a yummy potluck, sharing food, beverages, laughter, hugs, and friendship. Then, we gather in a big circle for our “new and good” portion, sharing a little bit about ourselves, our recent creative endeavors, and the highlights of our month since last we met.

Our guest speaker this month was Angi Burns, the Executive Director of the Ovation Academy of the Performing Arts. Angi had an informative and inspirational presentation of how her vision for this academy evolved. After many years of teaching in public schools and having talented children of her own, she realized the great need for a special school for young people whose talents and creativity often get lost in the public school system.

With an in depth presentation of plays, performances, and accolades of the academy’s students, our group was thoroughly impressed with this new school and the possibilities it brings to our local young people.

One of the important things I learned from the presentation was that not all young people are comfortable or able to blossom in the average public school system. Often, talented and creative students are considered odd, different, or weird in the mainstream classroom. Unfortunately, they sometimes are ridiculed, teased or taunted. Ovation Academy provides a nurturing safe place for these young people to learn, flourish and to express their unique talent. We are very fortunate to have this innovative school here in McKinney, a welcome addition to our “Unique by Nature” arts community.

Ovation Academy of a Performing Arts is located at 301 W. Louisiana St. and more information available at http://www.ovationpa.org

Sunday Sermon and Some Awesome Friends

9 Sep

“Giving materialistically is the soft option, but when you give from what you do for others then your reward is immeasurable contentment.”

― Stephen Richards

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It was an early 6:30 alarm this morning, I needed to feed and walk the dog, frost my cupcakes for brunch later, get ready and dressed for church, pick up Miss Jeanne from the assisted living place, and get to church by 8:30 in time to greet before Mass. The glowing orange sun was just easing up above the horizon when I walked the dog around 7. The cupcakes got frosted, I got changed, picked up Miss Jeanne, and I got that all that done with three minutes to spare. I pulled up to the side door at church, got Miss Jeanne’s walker out of my trunk, and parked by 8:27. Mary usually picks her up when she needs a ride, but she was on a retreat this weekend. I was very proud that I got that all done on time,

A lot of smiles and hugs at the door. My little friend Liam always scurries up to see what matchbox car I have hidden in my purse. Today, it was a police cruiser. Look at that smile.

Today’s Gospel from Luke was about Jesus telling the crowds that in order to be His disciple, you must give up everything, and follow Him. He used the examples, if you were building a tower, you would first sit down, make a plan and make sure you had enough funds. If a king was to be engaged in a war, he would make sure he had enough soldiers, if not, he would send envoys to settle a truce.

“No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.”

My take on it… this life is like a preparation. Like building a tower or engaging in a war, make sure you are prepared for the outcome, the grand finale. Sit down and make a plan and make sure you are doing your best to be prepared. You only have one chance at getting it right. As for carrying your cross, we all have our own crosses to carry in life, but it’s how we handle the burden that counts.

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After Mass, I asked Miss Jeanne if she’d like to stop at McDonald’s for coffee. The sweet 91 year young lady said that she’d live too. She doesn’t get out much, so it would be a treat. She lost her husband last year, so she’s been very lonely. We had a nice conversation about friends, family, church, etc. A couple of ladies stopped at our table to say hello and introduce themselves. They said that they see us all the time at church and it’s nice to know people’s names. (I already forgot. But, I’ll keep at it.)

Miss Jeanne.

When I got home, I let the dog out again, changed clothes and got my cupcakes ready for the picnic brunch at Miss Pat’s and The Magnificent 7. Of course, a couple of dozen were dropped off at my fire station on the way. We have seven friends that live in the same apartment complex, so,when they host a party, we just go from apartment to apartment and mix and mingle. It was mostly our Single Mingle group. It was a potluck and there was SO MUCH food and lots of wine, mimosas, and various beverages.

A wonderful Sunday with awesome friends. Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Some Shakin’ and Bakin’

8 Sep

“By doing what you love and finding how to serve, you add a very special joy to life.”

― Abhishek Kumar

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Yesterday, I talked about the fun and fabulous art show at The Cove featuring Kim Guthrie and Jennifer McCrary. But, what I didn’t mention was last week, Kim called me and asked me if I’d do her a huge favor and bake some of my cute mini cupcakes for her show. Most all my artist friends know that I’m famous for my brownies and mini cupcakes, because I bring them to our monthly McKinney Creative Community meetings. So, I was honored that she wanted to serve my cupcakes.

The theme of the art show was florals and succulents, so Kim requested pale frostings instead of my regular chocolate. I had seen this cool concept on Pinterest of layering three or four different colors of frosting on plastic then rolling it up, twisting into a tube shape and putting it in the piping bag. So, I thought I’d try it. Yikes! It took a little finessing and fussing and changing tubes and bags before I figured it out.

Not as easy as it looked on Pinterest. My plastic frosting tube was too big for my dispenser, so I had to finesse it into a pastry bag, and I had a heck of a time finding the right parts. 🤦‍♀️ But, it turned out ok. Tip: Don’t experiment with a new baking process two hours before you’re supposed to drop them off.

The chocolate cupcakes I frosted in different pastel colors.

They looked very nice on the refreshment table that Kim and Jennifer set up.

So, that’s what’s been bakin’ this weekend. Now for the shakin’ part, last night, Helene and I went over to the dance at the senior center. That was fun. Today, I slept in after staying up too late doing lots of nothin’. This afternoon, I went over to visit my dear friend Jerry, who just got home from several weeks at the hospital and rehab. He was asleep when I arrived, so I went back later in the evening.

At 6 pm, I met some of the girls at Braum’s for dinner and ice cream. We just giggle and laugh and tell outrageously hilarious stories. I really should record these sessions. We could have our own sit-com. Instead of the Golden Girls, we could be the Silver Girls. There’s an idea! (You can tell my arm isn’t long enough for a good selfie, but you get the idea.)

Another fine Saturday with friends, and a wonderful weekend sharing and caring. Life is good.

Friday:) Friends and Floral Event at The Cove

7 Sep

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

― Victor Hugo

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McKinney has the most amazing arts community and tonight’s art opening at The Cove was a perfect example of that.

Kim Guthrie and Jennifer McCrary gave new meaning to “Bloom where you’re planted.” The art show is a cooperative exhibit of Kim’s colorful and whimsical floral paintings, and Jennifer’s gorgeous one-of-a-kind floral arrangements.

I think half of the McKinney art world was there this evening and I’m sure the other half will be there tomorrow, along with friends and neighbors. The great part is most of the people I ran into tonight are dear friends. If you didn’t make it to the show tonight, get over there tomorrow night. And hey, if you don’t live close by, you can always check out Kim’s website. http://www.kimguthrieart.com

Kim Guthrie is so creative and talented.

And Jennifer McCrary makes magic happen with plants and flowers.

The Cove just “blossomed” with beauty tonight. Such a great show.

Fun Friday with friends at The Cove in McKinney.

Theme Song Thursday:) Karaoke @Delaney’s

6 Sep

“If you’ve got nothing to dance about, find a reason to sing.”

― Melody Carstairs

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Another fun evening with old friends and new friends at Delaney’s Irish Pub. Thursday is karaoke night, and after last week’s last minute cancellation, we weren’t sure if they would cancel again. Especially since it was the big Bears vs. Packers football game at the same time. But alas, karaoke was a go, and our buddy, KJ Justin, was back behind the scenes arranging the songs, and singing a few songs himself.

We had a great mix of great singers and fun songs. It’s hysterical when we all get up to dance. The old and the young, laughing, singing, and dancing. A very fun night.

I sang “You’re So Vain” again. I did a much better job today than I did last week. But, I won’t punish you with my rendition. Here’s Carly Simon to do it right…

If you can’t sing, then dance. If you can’t dance either, do both. Just have fun. Who cares?

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom

5 Sep

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.”

― Tia Walker

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I find that sometimes words of wisdom, inspirational quotes, and even some song lyrics can make me feel better and inspire me. Sometimes a song speaks to me or a quote brightens my day. And yes, positive personal affirmations are a must. My personal daily affirmation is, “I AM AMAZING!” Plus, I have a bracelet that says som and a lot of other people trained to confirm that statement. I say, Toni is….?” And they respond “AMAZING!” I love it when your friends play along with your silliness.

Here are some words of wisdom for today, and feel free to borrow my affirmation because YOU! My friend… ARE AMAZING!!!!

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tiny Lucky Ladybug

4 Sep

“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.

Langston Coleman

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Lady bugs are supposed to be a symbol of good luck. I never knew the origin of that history or even where the name came from. The other day, I found a ladybug sitting in the middle of my kitchen counter island. I carefully captured her in my hand and walked her to the back door and set her free outside. I figured if finding one was good luck, then killing one would be bad luck. I’ve been very lucky and blessed thus far, so I didn’t want to jinx that.

One of my Facebook friends posted something about the history of how the ladybug got her name. I had never heard that story. And, here is an over abundance of information (TMI) about the legend and history of the ladybug.

Having a ladybug land on you can be a magical moment. While other insects may pose a threat to humans, animals and crops alike, ladybugs are harmless — and even better, they’re beneficial! That’s why so many cultures over the centuries have cherished ladybugs, believing them to bring good luck.

A Good Insect

Ladybugs, which are members of the beetle family, come in a variety of colors, notably red, and are recognized by the distinctive dots on their oval-shaped hard bodies. Farmers encourage ladybug populations in their fields because ladybugs protect crops from insects, especially from aphids and other sap feeders who can do great damage. A single ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, according to the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology.

Superstition

Even though the ladybug is a North American insect, its delicate and artistic appearance has made it popular In many cultures, with a variety of superstitions to go along. One well-known superstition shared with children across cultures is: Never kill a ladybug because doing so will bring bad luck. The source of this adage was likely farmers, who wanted to protect these tiny but efficient crop defenders.

A Source of Good Luck

Some cultures believe seeing a ladybug brings good luck. The person may then succeed in love, have good weather, experience financial success or simply receive some other desired wish. Other cultures presume having a ladybug land on you brings good luck, or that whatever a ladybug lands on will be replaced with an improved version. Feng shui, the art of arranging spaces for optimum flow of energy, often incorporates the ladybug symbol.

Christian Symbolism

The ladybug’s distinctive spots also contribute to the symbolism surrounding the insect. In the Middle Ages, European Christian societies believed the beetle’s spots represented the Seven Sorrows of Mary, according to Catholic Answers Forum. After the farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to protect their crops, ladybugs supposedly appeared to defend the crops. The farmers called the bugs “Beetles of Our Lady,” which evolved into “ladybugs” — hence a reference to the Virgin Mary.