Tag Archives: firefighters

Saturday:) Some More Baking, Storms and My Silent Sanctuary

22 Jun

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

― Ansel Adams

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I stayed up till after 2 am baking my mini cupcakes. I like to do the baking part the night before, but I prefer to frost them right before I need to deliver them, so they’re fresh. I hate dry crusty frosting, don’t you?

I was baking for St. Gabriel’s big Casino Night fundraiser tonight. The Women’s Club sent an email requesting baked goods. Say no more. But also, as is my tradition, when I bake for one thing, I also make extra for my firemen.

I didn’t set an alarm or have an early agenda, so I woke up, and took a short walk, less than two miles. It was already pretty darn hot. Google said, “The temperature in McKinney is 95, but with the humidity and heat index, it feels like 105.” Yikes!

I came home, drank a lot of water, then proceeded to frost and package up the mini cupcakes. These are my favorite. Chocolate with a cherry from pie filling hiding inside.

My first stop was Fire Station 9. They really appreciate my sweet treat drive by visits.

Then, off to church with two containers. When I got to the community center, there weren’t too many cars and the inside looked dark. But, the door was unlocked and I saw four men sitting at a distant table. All the other tables and chairs were set up and ready for the big event later. One gentleman came over and said,”Thank you,” when I said I had some cupcakes.

The bottom of the foil pans didn’t feel that sturdy and the plastic covers kept popping off. For some reason I said, “CUIDADO!” when he picked up the containers. I’m not sure why? Maybe he looked a little Hispanic, it just slipped out. And that means “Watch out,” or “Be careful,” in Spanish.

Without skipping a beat, he responded while juggling the flimsy aluminum pans, “Muchisimas gracias.” OK! He spoke Spanish. Phew!

I decided to stop in the adjoining sanctuary just a few feet away. It was Saturday afternoon and no one else was around. I love having the entire silent sanctuary all to myself. And, our beautiful new church is like an amazing old European Cathedral. It’s very quiet and peaceful and I feel like I’m alone there, talking to God, and He’s listening to only me. I’m pretty sure He is.

When I got home, it was a little overcast and they were calling for big storms, so I figured I’d try and get a little more walking in. When it’s hot, I prefer to take several short walks instead of a long one. A couple of times, I over did it and had to sit under a tree to catch my breath when I got light headed. Not good. I managed to get 3.5 miles total in today.

I barely got home when the skies opened up. A nice refreshing rain. The temp is 78 now instead of in the 90’s.

So, a very nice Saturday so far. I have dinner plans at Miss Pat’s and then we are off to the Performing Arts Center on the square for a concert at 8. What a perfect day.

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Brownies and Those Terrific Firefighters

29 May

“Hug a firefighter and feel warm all over.”

~ Unknown

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Today is Mr. Mike’s birthday, so I decided to make some brownies. He’s trying to be good and not eat sweets, but it’s his birthday. Not a day to be good. I just took him one big square brownie with a candle. He also doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday, but I don’t follow directions.

When I bake, I always make a double batch so I can share with my local fire stations. I also wanted to take some next door to my neighbors. Their son Jack came over yesterday to unload and spread ten bags of mulch for me. So, I had a lot of brownies to share.

After stopping to thank Jack, I drove over to Station 9. Firefighter Williams answered the hall phone and came to the door. She even had my other container to swap out from last time. She said they just got in from working the pass the boot fundraiser so the brownies would be well received.

My next stop was Station 5. This is the first station I visited regularly when I first came to McKinney in ’04. Even though I’ve moved a few miles northeast, I still stop by the 5 every now and then.

When I go to Station 5, I usually use a disposable container. I wouldn’t expect them to save my nice containers, as I only get over there once a month or so. I wrote on the container, Thank you. Miss Toni with a smiley face. Firefighter Yervasi must be fairly new, as he didn’t recognize me, but was thankful, none the less.

I walked back to my car and started up my car when I saw someone run out the door. The sun was glaring in my eyes when I rolled down my window and saw the navy blue shirt and the name Blount. I jumped out of my car and gave Quincy Blount a big hug. Quincy was the first fireman that I met when I started taking brownies and cookies over to Station 5 all those years ago. We are Facebook friends too. I love watching his young family grow and keeping up with their adventures. But, over the years, he was transferred to Station 2. I would stop by there after he got transferred. Then, he got transferred to and is still at Station 7, way on the other side of town. I’m bad, I don’t drive over that far.

Boy, was I surprised when he ran out the door to greet me before I drove off. He was assigned to the 5 for just a few days and Yervasi must have mentioned that a lady dropped off some brownies, so he knew who it was.

After a big hug and talking about his kids and family and plans for the future, I said, “Wait…we have to get a selfie.” So good to see my old young friend Quincy.

On my way home, I had to pull over in a school parking lot when I saw a faint rainbow out in the distance. A very beautiful, fun and lucky day for Miss Toni.

Friday:) My McKinney Firefighter Friends

19 Jan

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I’ve had a busy week of baking. Monday I baked brownies for the dance at the senior center, some for Creative Community potluck, a batch for Fire Station 9, and a few to take to Miss Nelma at Towne creek. I decided quite a while ago that every time I bake for a potluck, birthday, or celebration that I would bake extra for my firemen.

I love the smiles I get when they open the door and I hand them their treats. Station 9 is the new station less than a mile from my house. It’s funny, when I arrive, I pick up the outside house phone. When someone answers, I just say, “Hi, It’s Toni with some treats for you guys.” The response is always, “Thank you. I’ll be right there.” Here’s the funny part, whoever opens the door with a big smile, also has my plastic container from last time. They save it for me.

Yesterday, I made a zillion mini chocolate cherry cupcakes with cherry cream cheese frosting. I made enough for Miss Loretta’s birthday, to share with some neighbors, and take over to two fire stations.

Some of my Station 9 friends. I also shared my baking tip about putting a slice of fresh bread in the container to keep the frosting and cake soft for left overs the next day. I was informed that there was no such thing as leftovers.

Station 5 friends.

My neighbor across the street is a fireman, and his two little boys are just adorable. They are always playing outside in their little firemen uniforms or riding their little fire truck car. I always get a wave and a “Hi Miss Toni.” Most likely, a couple little firemen apprentices in the making. So of course, my little mini firemen get some treats, too.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make someone smile and feel appreciated. And, nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.

Friday:) McKinney Firefighters Home Safe

24 Nov

“Nothing cries out for compassion, concern, and danger as a fire engine screams by carrying firefighters ready to do battle without flinching from any demand.” ~Byron Pulsifer

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Our McKinney and North Texas firefighters arrived home safely in time for Thanksgiving. They traveled to and spent ten days helping to battle the devastating California fires. They left their families and friends, not knowing what they would be up against or what life threatening danger they would encounter. Everyone here in McKinney is proud of their selfless act of kindness.

These are just a few of the firefighter in our community who risk their lives every day for us. This is why I like to take brownies or cookies or cupcakes to my local fire stations.

Yesterday, when I stopped at our new Station #9 with brownies and a hand-painted ornament, I asked them about their Christmas tree. They said they didn’t have one yet. I’m going to have to post something on Nextdoor and Facebook and see if we can’t get these guys a tree.

Then, I had this great idea. I took them a special Fire Station #9 ornament for their first year, so why couldn’t our friends and neighbors here in McKinney all stop by sometime before Christmas and bring a special ornament for their tree? The coolest part would be if maybe the kids could make a homemade ornament with 2018 on it so it would make their tree even more special. I think I’m going to do that.

This is the ornament I made. Poppies this year. I remember a few years back when guys at Station #5 were all reassigned, no one knew where the tree was. I posted something on Facebook, and within a day, the station received a beautiful live tree.

So, here’s the deal. You don’t have to live in McKinney. Why don’t you take a homemade ornament or some baked goods or just a card of appreciation to your local fire station? I know they would appreciate it.

Saturday:) Some Excitement and Some Cute Firemen

16 Apr

Firefighters are indispensable foot soldiers here at home.

~ Christopher Dodd

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“Don’t you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?” ― Juliet Marillier

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We woke early this morning to the blaring screeching deafening fire alarm here at The Greens of Elgin. I jumped out of bed. Mom was leisurely walking around. I asked, “Do we need to go downstairs? Is it a drill?” Mom replied, “Oh, it goes off all the time. No one pays attention.” What? Over seventy-five units, maybe a hundred people, and no one pays attention to the fire alarm? What if it’s not a false alarm.

I quickly got dressed and Mom and I went downstairs. The elevator was still working. Usually, those get shut down. No smoke or smell anywhere. By the time we got down to the main lobby, firemen were scrambling around with flashlights and axes and walkie talkies. 


Mom and I sat on the bench by the desk. As everyone scurried, we noticed that no one else came out of their rooms. Well, just Jim, the gentleman who is president of the homeowners board. They still didn’t know why the alarm was wailing, but after about twenty minutes, they found that a water pipe had burst in the kitchen. Still no people, just lots of firemen.

The people at the desk finally got around to calling all the residents to tell them it was a false alarm and not to worry. It seems like they weren’t worried. I asked Mom what would she do if the alarm sounded next time. She said she would just stay in her room. So many of the the folks living here have walkers or wheel chairs and certainly couldn’t use the stairs. I told her, “Well, at least unlock the door and wait for a cute fireman to come and rescue you. She liked that.

After we sat a while, I went outside to see how many fire trucks were dispatched. Wow! Five trucks and an ambulance. That was very comforting to know that all the residents here are in good hands should there be a real fire or serious event.



An exciting morning.


Tuesday:) Toni’s Taking Brownies To Those Handsome Firemen

25 Jan

Firefighting — one of the few professions left that still makes house calls. ~Author Unknown

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You know how your Facebook page comes up with memory photos from years gone by? Well, the other day, this photo popped up. It was a McKinney firefighter calendar that I had purchased in 2011. I was promoting the sale of the calendar. It was just to support a worthy charitable cause, of course. 


Well, it reminded me that I hadn’t made cookies or brownies for my local fire stations lately. So, I made a couple batches of brownies to share with our guys and girls in blue. Then, I always share with friends and neighbors too. If you’re going to bake, bake big, I always say.

 


Everyone says I make the best brownies. My secret is, I sprinkle about a cup or more of semi sweet chocolate chips on top of the batter and/or I top with mini marshmallows, mix a bit and sprinkle with chips. 

I stopped at Station #2, and Captain Turner answered the knock at the back door. The truck bay doors were open, so I just went in the back way. I’m a regular visitor. The Captain smiled and asked, “What’s the occasion?” I responded, “Just want to say thanks for all you guys do.”


Then, off to Station #5. 


Here’s the neat part. Firefighter Eddington answered the door, said thank you and asked, “Aren’t you the lady that brings us Christmas ornaments and cookies all the time?” I assured him that I was, and apologized for not being by this Christmas. I told him that I was in Chicago visiting my new granddaughter. (Dang! I forgot to take my pictures of the baby. Next time.) A good excuse to come back again soon.

I really appreciate our fire fighters and police officers. It takes a very special type of person to be willing to sacrifice their life for a stranger. If a few cookies or brownies can say thank you and bring a smile to their faces, it’s more than worth the small effort.


Here’s one of my silly brownie mix faces to make you smile. 

Sunday Sermon and Remembering 9/11

11 Sep

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

~ President Barack Obama  2011 radio address.

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A cool morning, finally, here in McKinney. While greeting before Mass, I noticed the normal scamper to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning, was replaced by leisurely strolls into church.

The Gospel today was the famous prodigal son sermon. One son demands his inheritance from his father and squanders it away, while the other son remains and works hard. The prodigal son returns impoverished and repentant. The father welcomes him, rejoices and prepares a feast. The faithful son is jealous.

My take on it…God’s love or a parent’s love is unconditional. The return back to the fold of a lost child, repentant and grateful, is worth celebrating. But, on the other hand, the faithful, hardworking son is not loved less and should not be jealous, he should rejoice too, because the Father has his family together. There is enough love to go around.

Gospel Luke 15

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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9/11 is always a sad day. So many lives lost, so much heartache and senseless loss. Fifteen years later, the memory is still fresh in many hearts. There are always tributes and commemorative ceremonies. 

I remember going to the tenth anniversary ceremony in McKinney in 2011, with tears streaming down my face, I took pictures to share the day.


As is my personal tradition, I did my baking marathon and dropped off fresh out of the oven cookies and brownies to three neighboring fire stations.


This is an oldie but a goodie brownie funny face.


The house smelled of chocolate and oatmeal and yummy cookie goodness.


I delivered my treats last night while the cookies and brownies were still warm right out of the oven. I always love the smile on the young firefighter’s faces, especially when they say, “These are still warm!” I knew today, 9/11, many of the stations would be at ceremonies, so last night was a better day to deliver and say thank you. I shook each hand and knew that each of these brave firefighters would be willing to sacrifice their life for mine. There is no greater gift than that.



My old friends at Station 5. The counter was empty. I guess I was the first to drop off a thank you tray of goodies last night. I hope that today, all 8 fire stations have counters filled with offerings of gratitude from residents, neighbors and friends. If you didn’t get out there today, any day is a good day to say “Thank you.”


A couple of the guys at Station 2. Big smiles.


Station 1, right off the square, also houses a neat fire engine museum with memorabilia, photos and historical records.


No, NEVER FORGET!