Tag Archives: Faith

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

24 Dec

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe..”

~Saint Augustine

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A beautiful day here in Northbrook. The sun was out, the air was crisp and cold, and we made it to church on time. I forgot all the steps and drama of getting a little one ready to go anywhere. There are diaper bags, diapers, wipes, books, snacks, baby dolls, and a lot of patience required. Belle was a trooper and was quiet and cooperative for well over an hour. Very unusual for a two year old. Plus, it was an extra long Mass with two baptisms during the service.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Mary visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also with child…

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,

the infant leaped in her womb,

and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,

cried out in a loud voice and said,

“Blessed are you among women,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And how does this happen to me,

that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,

the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

Blessed are you who believed

that what was spoken to you by the Lord

would be fulfilled.”

My take on it…Mary was very brave and faithful, accepting that she would give birth to the Lord and Savior. Her husband, Joseph, also accepted the wishes of God. And Elizabeth, knew that Mary carried a special child the minute she heard her voice. That’s what faith is all about. Accepting what God has chosen for you, and having faith that you will be blessed.

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After Mass, we went over to light a candle. I said a prayer of thanks for our beautiful growing family. We are truly blessed.

We stopped at the store to pick up a few last minute essentials, then home for lunch and a nap. NO! I didn’t get a nap, but I could use one. But, I did get to spend more time holding and rocking baby Sophie while Mom and Dad ate lunch or attended to household chores.

Being a Gamma is only a part-time job, but the pay is most rewarding.

Frugal Friday, Faith, and Fixin’ to Fix My Famous Black Russian

29 Sep

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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It was a strange misty morning. I walked the dog, then went for a long walk by myself. It was only in the 60’s, (yay) so I wore a sweater. Later, I went to the bank and stopped at Papa Murphy’s Pizza to say hi to Miss Karri, then to Tom Thumb for a few groceries on sale. Yes, eggs were on sale for 69 cents a dozen. I go through a lot with my brownies and cupcakes. Then, they had those cute grape tomatoes for $1 a container. Well, I could go on… I only buy things on sale, unless it’s an emergency. I AM FRUGAL.

I hadn’t eaten all day, so McDonald’s was right across the parking lot. I love my McD app that has all kinds of fun coupons and discounts. Today, I ordered a crispy chicken sandwich for $1. Yes! Can you believe it? It was very good.

I could have gone to a fancy restaurant and spent $20 on a mediocre lunch, but I like to save my time and money for special occasions and to be with special friends. When I’m alone, $1 sandwich is just fine, and it’s fast, and it’s cheap… I mean frugal. Actually, there was 8cents tax. So, it was really $1.08 for lunch.

After my gourmet lunch, I decided to stop in at St. Gabriel’s for Friday Adoration and to light a candle. Today, I decided that instead of praying for a specific intention or person or concern, I was just going to spend a few minutes in church just to say, “Thank you!” I am very thankful for my many blessings. The sanctuary was empty and I was alone to light my candle and say a prayer. It was very peaceful.

Then, I walked into the back chapel where The Eucharist was on display for Adoration. There were about half a dozen people there in quiet meditation. I really admire people who take time out to give thanks, pray for others, and show respect for their faith. It’s a good thing.

I came home, walked the dog again, and another solo walk. I was in time for a beer in Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy’s garage. I told them that their house was the Beer Garden Garage. Mr. Joe from across the street was already sitting there in the extra lawn chair.

So, here I am. Fixin’ to fix my famous Friday night Black Russian.

This is how it starts, with a frozen chocolate almond ball, then some ice cream, some vodka and kahlua. It’s a scientific concoction. Not really. I just pour glugs of this and that, add some ice cream and… what’s not to like?

Happy Friday my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

12 Aug

“Man does not live by bread alone. There must be brownies, cupcakes, cookies, candy, pizza, ice cream and Black Russians on Friday.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A beautiful cloudy and cooler Sunday morning, in comparison to the steamy Sunday’s the past few weeks. I actually had a light sweater on while greeting at the door with Mary and Jerry. It was in the 70’s. Wow!

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus telling the Jews that He was the bread of life that came down from heaven. They were mumbling that He was just a man, son of Joseph. Jesus explained that He was the living bread.

My take on it… Earthly food is just temporary nourishment. Faith and trust in God, even though we haven’t seen Him, is the key to everlasting life. But, to take things a little further, food for the body is important, but what about food for the soul? You can give a poor man a crust of bread, but why don’t you invite him to your table, sit and talk with him, and share your time and blessings? That is nourishment for the soul. That’s how you follow the Lord’s teachings. Jesus shared ALL that He had with us, right down to giving his life by dying on the cross as a symbol of complete love.

Amen, amen, I say to you,

whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life.

Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;

this is the bread that comes down from heaven

so that one may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven;

whoever eats this bread will live forever;

and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

That was a good lesson.

Man does not live by bread alone…

Wednesday:) When God Turns the Worst Day of Your Life Into a Celebration

12 Jul

Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

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Five years ago today was the absolute worst, painful, devastating day of my life. Most of you already know the dreadful details and heart-break that began on this day in 2013. I won’t get into detail. My spirit and heart were broken, but my faith never wavered. What you may not know is the miraculous events that followed. There were three, and only three, painful calendar dates that plagued my heart and soul. 7/11, 8/23, and 12/5. God changed all three of those dates into a celebration. This was no coincidence. Today, 7/11 is the first date, the first mini miracle.

That awful day is now a celebration. My son Joe got married on 7/11/2015, changing the previous painful memories into happy new ones. I gave a loving toast to the beautiful bride and handsome groom. I danced the mother/son dance, crying tears of joy and softly singing “Child of Mine,” in his ear. Now, the worst day of my life is a special happy day. Happy Anniversary!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2udWx091cc

Sunday Sermon and Kenyan Choir Celebration for Father Charles

2 Jul

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”

Max Lucado

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Hot, hot, hot here in north Texas. But, it was a good day for celebrating our final day with Father Charles before he leaves for St. Francis. I arrived promptly at 8:30 to greet before 9 o’clock Mass. there were many smiles, hugs and handshaking. Father Charles was officiating every Mass, saying farewell to each congregation and group of altar servers.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus being asked by a man to heal his sick daughter. On His way, a woman who had been sick for twelve years heard that Jesus was passing, and she thought, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” When she touched his cloak, she was healed. Jesus felt the power leave Him and asked who touched Him. The woman fell before Him and trembled and confessed.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.

Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While He was still speaking, Jesus and the father were informed that the sick daughter had died. He replied, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He went to his house, took the child’s hand and told her to arise. The girl woke and walked around.

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My take on it…. Faith is a very powerful force. We may not all receive miracles like these mentioned, but we still need to have faith. Mostly, I think we need to have faith in ourselves. God doesn’t cause awful things to happen, He’s just there to help us get through them. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

After 9 o’clock Mass, I ended up staying a little longer for the 11 Mass. I went to my car, took my brownies over to the rec center for the potluck lunch at noon, and sat and listened to the Kenyan choir rehearsing. They were going to sing in honor of Father Charles at 11. It was a packed house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCMgrjoYBCk

The lunch afterwards was standing room only, with Father Charles, walking around, talking to so many friends, shaking hands and hugging children. He will be greatly missed.

Sunday Sermon and Mother’s Day Memories

14 May

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

― Abraham Lincoln

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My favorite picture of my mother and ME. (I cringe when people say my mother and I. Improper grammar.)

On my way to church this morning, I couldn’t help but feel sad on my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I miss my daily morning calls. I miss her sweet voice and her giggles on the phone or her hugs and laughter when we were together.

This morning, as I greeted at the door before Mass, I felt a comfort knowing that Mom was in heaven and smiling at me. She has sent me many signs, lucky pennies and butterflies that follow me around. So, I know there’s a heaven and Mom is there patiently waiting for her family and friends.

Today, being Mother’s Day and Ascension Sunday, made it even a more beautiful service. The children came up and sang as they put flowers by the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Today’s reading was about Jesus telling the disciples to go out and proclaim the gospel.

MK 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

My take on it… back then, we didn’t have radio, television, the internet, Facebook and Twitter. People had to travel and send letters to share news. We have all these gifts and technologies at our fingertips. You would think that we could spread love and hope and goodwill throughout the world. You would think we could end war and hatred and evil. Hasn’t worked so far. So, let’s keep trying.

At the end of Mass, Father asked all the mothers to stand up for a special blessing. As we stood, and all the other congregation raised their hands to join in the blessing, Father asked God to bless all the mothers, mothers in heaven, women who are loving caregivers, and all the nurturing women who take care of so many people. Uncontrollable tears rolled down my face. I tried to look up to stop them from trickling further. That didn’t work, so I just went with the flow…literally.

Reposting my poem for my angel mother.

My Angel Mother

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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When I went for my long afternoon walk, I said,”Well, its Mother’s Day Mom. Are you going to send me a sign?” Almost an hour later, I’d forgotten my request. I was a couple of blocks from home, and that annoying smooshed beer can was still by the curb on a neighbor’s lawn. I didn’t want to carry it all the way home, but turned around to pick it up. As I picked up the grungy can, just a few inches away was a lucky quarter.

I guess it was my Mother’s Day bonus. 25 times as lucky as a penny. Thanks Mom.

Saturday:) St. Anthony and All My Angels On Speed Dial

7 Apr

“For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans.”

Brian L. Weiss

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St. Anthony happens to be my Patron Saint, as I was baptized Antoinette. I like to think this gives me a little extra influence with the official Patron Saint of lost articles and lost souls. I call on him quite a bit. We Catholics have a Patron Saint for pretty much every dilemma, illness or intention imaginable.

Well, the other day, I was out for a long walk. The sun was shining, but a little cold. I had gloves on, but I was reveling in the sunshine, swinging my arms, and singing show tunes in my head. I was just a couple of blocks away from my house when, there on the sidewalk, I saw a shiny coin. It was a lucky dime. The strange thing is, I walked that same path when I started out, and didn’t notice it there. Hmmm?

I picked up the dime, after taking a picture, of course, then smiled as I put it in my pocket. I silently said, “Thanks Mom.” Or maybe I said it out loud? I do that sometimes.

I got to my front door, reached for my house key that I keep on a rubber band on my wrist, and NO KEY! Where was my key? Panic! How will I get back in the house? Oh, my neighbor has an extra key, but I didn’t like the thought of my house key somewhere on the street, so I did what I always do. I prayed.

“St. Anthony. It’s me AGAIN. I dropped my key somewhere, and I know you will help me find it.” I didn’t say maybe, I knew he would. To increase my chances, I said my other prayer to my Guardian Angel, who happens to be my mother, right now. For some reason this prayer I learned when I was a little girl, popped into my head a few weeks ago, and will not go away.

So, I retraced my steps down all the sidewalks and streets I walked, repeating the prayer and asking St. Anthony for help. I thought for sure it would be where I picked up the dime. Nope! I kept walking several more blocks. I even thought, this was a strange way to get me to walk a few extra miles.

Finally, I was right in front of Mr. Larry’s and Ms. Sandy’s driveway, (where I sometimes stop for a beer in the garage and catch up on neighborhood news.) and there was the key, smack in the middle of the sidewalk.

It was early morning, and the garage was closed, so I hadn’t stopped. But, as is my habit, as I pass by their house, I give a wave by the front window in case they see me walking past. The key must have slipped off as I waved. Or maybe my angel just left it there knowing I’d find it or Mr. Larry would. Either way, St. Anthony and my angels helped me out again.

I have many more stories of my angels rescuing me in time of need. Many of my angels are right here on earth. Sometimes God gives you earthly angels to help you along the way. I’m blessed with so many. And, I think a few of you reading this right now, know that you are one of those angels. Thank you.