Tag Archives: Friends

Saturday:) Celebrating Stephen and Bonnie

6 Jan

“A circle has no end, no beginning, and can hold within itself all the love and devotion shared between mates. Let the rings you exchange now guide you in your life together and show you the way to everlasting love.”

― Stacie Simpson


This afternoon, friends and family gathered to celebrate the marriage of Stephen and Bonnie. It was a beautiful ceremony, with two young people exchanging vows and promises. I don’t know what it is, but I ALWAYS cry at weddings. Happy tears.

Stephen is the son of my friends Karen and Brad. I was honored to be invited to share this special day with them. Friends, Lynne and Charlie, picked me up. It’s always nice to celebrate with friends. Plus, the reception was somewhere in Celina, off the beaten path, and I am directionally challenged. I was grateful and relaxed not having to drive. Plus, I could have a drink. Yay!

Lynne and Karen, girlfriends forever.

When we got to the reception, we were pleasantly surprised when a Mariachi band began to play.

Other friends.

Our friend Sara sat with us. We still laugh about Sara connecting with my cousin Tony on Facebook. She saw a comment on my Facebook page from a Tony Hernandez and mentioned that she went to school with a guy with the same name. I said, he lives in Kansas, so probably not the same guy. Turns out they were very good friends and went to the same high school. Small world. Then, they reconnected on Facebook. Cool!

Weddings are always a wonderful reminder of love and a promise for the future.

A very special day, a special celebration. Congratulations Stephen and Bonnie.

Friday Friends:) YAH YAHs~ Young At Heart Artists

5 Jan

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

― Franz Kafka


Back in the saddle, back to my routine. I got up, had a cup of tea, checked my emails, then off to the store. The first Friday of the month, I volunteer over at Towne Creek Senior Apartments. On that day, I go to the store and decide what I’ll prepare for our feast. Today, I bought 2 pizzas, red velvet cake, salted caramel ice cream, ginger ale, and fixins for popcorn/pretzel, peanuts/goldfish snack mix.

First, I picked up a prescription, went to the bank, stopped at Papa Murphy to say hi to Miss Karri, then the grocery store. On the way home, I picked up Bella at Mr. Mike’s, so I could doggie sit a couple of days. I walked the dog, then packed up art supplies for Towne Creek. We were going to work on painting glass bowls for the Empty Bowls charity event coming up.

We had fun painting our bowls. While they were finishing up the first layer of paint, I turned on the oven to bake the pizzas. The smoke sector started blaring when I put the pizzas in the oven. Miss Katie and I took some cardboard and started fanning at the ceiling. The chirping stopped. Darn, maybe those cute firemen would have had to make a quick visit. We had plenty of food to share.

We gathered our hands and said a prayer of thanks. We ate our red velvet cake and ice cream first. Life is short, eat dessert first. We also had a champagne toast to the new year. Of course, it was only ginger ale, but the cute plastic glasses made it feel like real champagne.

My lovely artist friends make me feel so loved and so important. I even have them trained to say…”Toni is …AMAZING!” The cool part is, they actually think so. How blessed am I? After we cleaned up and packed up, I went upstairs to visit with Miss Nelma who couldn’t make it down. Her doctor ordered total bed rest. I took her some food, showed her a zillion baby pictures, and photos of our painting project. We had a nice visit.

Another day to be thankful for.

Black Russian Friday… as soon as I post this. Cheers!!!!

Thankful Thursday:) Home Safe and Sound

4 Jan

“When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.”

~Thorton Wilder


It always feels good to be back home after a long trip. It’s good to sit in your kitchen, get back to your favorite tv shows, not live out of a crammed suitcase, and sleep in your own bed. It’s a good thing, but I’m not sure if leaving the warmth of family and friends outweighs returning to your comfortable routine.

Being a big Star Trek fan, I wish I could just beam back and forth from Chicago to McKinney. Until that day comes, I’ll just have to savor all the special times and memories.

I am thankful for my wonderful family. I am thankful for my sister who took such good care of me, drove me all over town, fed me, and even gave up her bed for me. I am thankful for God sending us a beautiful new baby girl, my second grand-daughter to love and smother with kisses. I am thankful for my son and his beautiful wife for their unconditional love and hospitality, and sharing their growing little family with Gamma. I am thankful for my dear old friends that I was able to visit with and who came to visit me. Although I didn’t get to see him, I am especially thankful for my strong, smart and caring son Matt, who takes care of me from afar. So much to be thankful for.

It was a bitter-sweet day as my sister drove me to the airport. The weather was questionable, and my flight was delayed several hours, then updated to less than an hour delay. The flight was smooth and it was a great big 787 with little tv screens at each seat. I played Trivia, Sudoku, and solitaire. Cool!

My friend Mary picked me up at DFW, after circling, then parking, and racing around looking for me, she found me at baggage claim.

I’m back in McKinney, missing my family, but happy to be home safe and sound.

Thankful Thursday…thankful every day.

Montage Monday:) A Week In New Year Peek

31 Dec

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.”

~Sarah Ban Breathnach


A wonderful Christmas holiday with friends and family. Of course, the best part was welcoming another new baby into the world. Our little family is growing and my heart is ten times bigger than it was last year. Don’t worry, I have plenty of more room for more love. My heart won’t explode.

A week in a Peek….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Thursday With Thoreau:) Friends

21 Dec

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”

~Henry David Thoreau


“There are friends who come and in and out of your life, and then there are friends who come in and just stay in forever.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Poets and writers have a wonderful way of expressing what you’d like to say, but you just can’t find the right words. That’s why I borrow quotes every day. I write a few of my own, but it’s just not the same.

I chose Henry David Thoreau to talk about friends. Friends cherish your hopes and dreams because they want only the best for you, and you feel the same way.

I had dinner with some old friends last night. Well, some of us are older than others, but we are all getting older. Not much, just a tiny bit older. We’ve been friends since our kids were little and in grade school. I think I met Viv when our sons were in third grade together. They are in their 30’s now. Then, I met Lin and Vicky, who were friends of Viv’s shortly there after. We started bowling on the same team every Wednesday for over a dozen years. I met Diane at bowling. We’ve remained good friends all these years. That’s a beautiful thing.

When I’m in town, we try and get together for a nice dinner. If it’s Christmas time, we have a holiday dinner and exchange gifts. We cherish each other’s holes and dreams.

Last night, we all met at D and J Bistro in Lake Zurich. The food was wonderful and the friendship even better. At first, when I found out where we were having dinner, I was disappointed and nervous. It triggered some memories from the past. It was the place that the EX and I used to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions for many years. It was “our place.” They didn’t know that when they made reservations. It’s just one of the nicest restaurants around. Instead of asking to change locations, I decided to add this special dinner to my list of turning a sad memory into a joyous celebration. Guess what? It worked. Now, this is the place that my best old friends from back home gathered for a wonderful Christmas celebration. A fine fun new memory.

Then, to top it off, we ran into some other old friends who just happened to be having dinner at the same time. What are the odd?

Kris and Lori have been friends for ages too. Haven’t seen them in ages. Yay! Nice surprise.

Thank you my dear friends for all the shared hopes and dreams.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

10 Dec

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.

~Brad Henry


This morning, I had the pleasure of attending Mass at St. Thomas More in Elgin. It’s a beautiful church with simple lines and unassuming statues, but the panoramic stained glass windows behind the modest altar are amazing when the sun bursts through the vibrant colorful glass.

It was a little difficult to wake up to the 7 a.m. alarm after getting to sleep after 2, but, I was looking forward to attending this service. It was my mom’s parish. It would bring me closer to my sweet Mom up in heaven. A few tears slipped down my face.

Father’s homily was a little amusing. He talked about the people who influence our lives. Jesus was the great teacher, but Father said he had a very influential teacher while in the seminary. He said that he didn’t remember much of the calculus, Greek, philosophy, or even some of the Latin that he was taught way back in the 60’s. What he really remembered was the kindness and compassion of many of the instructors. One priest in particular would bring burgers, fries and Cokes for his students when they were stressed studying or rehearsing late into the evening. So, father suggested that, “You may not remember all classes and concepts that you’ve learned in life, but you will always remember the people who showed you kindness.”

After Mass, I bumped into several of Mom’s old friends. Tom, Mary, and Ilene had all been Eucharistic ministers who went to The Greens of Elgin, where Mom lived, to officiate Sunday services. They all said how much they missed Trini and her beautiful smile. I knew they really meant it, too. Everyone who knew Mom will miss her very much. It was a good morning.

Later in the afternoon, my dear friend Debbie came over. We went shopping and to lunch. Pizza was on my bucket list. You can never have too much Chicago pizza. A beautiful sunset ended the day.

To add the frosting to my already great day, I received some pictures on my iCloud photo sharing of my grand-daughter that made me smile.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Thankful Thursday and Mr. Dan

30 Nov

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”

~Dennis Prager


This is an oldie but a goodie story that I share every year about this time. It all started several years ago, maybe six or seven, maybe more.An artist friend called me and said an elderly gentleman was looking for an artist that could paint on porcelain or China. And I quote, ” The elderly gentleman had an artist who painted bluebonnets on a white porcelain gift for his wife for Christmas every year.He has been giving his wife this gift for fifty years. She passed away, but he wants to continue having this gift made.”

Well, my hear was aching. The poor man misses his wife and wants to continue the tradition. I called Mr. Dan and agreed to meet with him to see if I could help. We met at Snug, and he brought a few examples of previous projects. Yep, I could do that.

I found a beautiful white glass gift box at an antique store, painted and inscribed on the bottom per his request, to Sue Love Dan, I called Mr. Dan a week later to tell him the project was finished and we could meet. We met at Chicken Express for the exchange, as he was on his way to the square. I gave him the gift and he loved it, I melted with sadness for his loss.

He thanked me, took out his wallet and asked how much he owed me, I said, “One big hug. I refuse to take your money.” He thanked me profusely and said, “Sue is going to love it. She’s at her sister’s today, so I can hide it before she gets home.”

Ahhhh, the lightbulb went of over my head. His wife hadn’t passed away, but rather the artist who painted the gift every year.

So now, every year, I get a call from Mr. Dan, and I tell my friends, ” Well, I’ve gotta paint some bluebonnets for Mr. Dan’s dead wife who isn’t really dead.”

And every year, Mr. Dan takes out his wallet and tries to pay me. I get my payment of a big hug and a thank you.

Today, I delivered his gift to his house. Here he is putting it in his truck to hide from Sue until Christmas. One of my favorite stories.