Tag Archives: friendship

Saturday:) Someone Stole My Front Porch Bench

17 May

“The greatest thief is the one who returns the item better than they found it.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I woke up this morning to the sound of pelting rain. It rained all last night, during the night, all day, and still raining. So, I gathered up all my strength, pulled up the covers, then rolled over and went back to sleep. Rainy days make me sleepy.

My phone dinged a couple of hours later. My friend and neighbor, Allison, asked me in a text how attached I was to the old dilapidated brown bench I had on my front porch. She wondered if it was of sentimental value. The last time she was over, it sat out front all broken and disassembled from the last storm. I replied that it was a $10 garage sale find.

Then, she texted me some pictures of my broken bench, laying on a tarp in her garage. She had gotten up at dawn, drove her truck over to my house and stole my bench.

The funny part is, I have a Ring doorbell and didn’t even hear her when she pulled up. Did I mention that rainy days make me sleepy? Later, I checked my Ring doorbell camera, and there she was, stealing my bench in he rain.

She put it in the back of her truck. Then, she spent hours sanding, stripping, hammering and nailing, trying to repair my old bench. She wanted to surprise me. She’s still working on it. A lot more work than she expected.

These are the kind of wonderful friends I’ve been blessed with. When I thanked her and said she was so thoughtful and kind, she said, and I quote, “You help so many people and offer so much to the community. Someone needs to give back to you.” OK, I got misty.

Allison is not only a wonderful friend, well known author/writer, amazing Master Gardner, but she has a lot of power tools and she knows how to use them.

She later sent me some pictures and a video of her Flower Tower that she also assembled and planted and placed in her front yard on this yucky rainy day. All these projects in one day. I’m lucky that I remembered to brush my teeth. Hmm? Did I brush my teeth today?

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

Today, I accomplished nothing, zilch, nada. And, I’m embarrassed to say, (well, not really) I never got dressed and I’m still in my pajamas. “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know.” (Old joke.)

But, the day is still young. It’s not even 10 pm. I may go upstairs and do something creative, maybe a watercolor painting, or an acrylic project, or maybe just go brush my teeth.

Happy lazy Quarantined lazy rainy Saturday, my friend.

Timeless Tuesday:) Friendship Is Ageless & Timeless

5 Feb

As long as I’m learning every day of my life, I will never feel old. Never. And I don’t feel old; I feel in my head and in my heart – I don’t know, ageless!

Pat Mitchell

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This morning, a group of abeles and timeless friends gathered at the lovely Dulaney Cottage in the Historic Chestnut Square Village in downtown McKinney.

Our international, world traveling, and amazing friend, Annie Stokes, invited all of her local McKinney friends to join her for brunch at the Delaney Cottage this morning. Annie rarely stays in one city, much less one country long enough to spend much time with her friends, so this was more of a reunion and celebration. The beautiful historic home was the perfect setting for a gathering of talented and fascinating ladies whose ages spanned nine decades. The informal brunch provided time to visit with old friends, and the best part, time to meet new people and make new friends.

The adorable Annie Stokes, orchestrating the yummy brunch, along side another dear friend, Lynne Weinberger.

Some of the ladies had to leave early for other appointments, but the majority of us lingered long through the morning to chat, hear fascinating historical stories, and make new friends. There’s something really special about sitting in an old historic home, imagining all the history and stories the old building could tell. We became part of that history as we sat there continuing the tradition of friendship and community. McKinney, “Unique by Nature,” is our motto, most appropriately penned.

Thank you Annie Stokes for arranging such a lovely reunion.

If you haven’t been to Historic Chestnut Square, it’s a charming timeless place to visit, with farmer’s markets, wedding venues, tours, and many activities. Check it out.

https://www.chestnutsquare.org/

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

4 Feb

My blessings are many

And my troubles are few.

And you would be smiling

If you knew what I knew.

There is no big secret

There’s no fountain of youth.

Simply love who you are

And let that be your truth.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another great week, my friends. How blessed am I!

A week in a pictorial peek…

Saturday:) Some Super-sized Soup for the Soul

2 Feb

“Forget Chicken Soup for the Soul. How about chicken soup for your friends with the flu?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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We’ve all heard about or have read the series of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. If you think about it, when you are sick, have a cough, cold or flu, you always think, hmmm… I need some chicken soup to make me feel better. And the books relate inspirational stories that speak to soul, to make you feel better.

Motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen collaborated on the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, compiling inspirational, true stories they had heard from their audience members. Many of the stories came from members of the audience of their inspirational talks. (Wikipedia)

But sometimes, we need to do things to help other people feel better, emotionally and physically. My for friend and neighbor Allison has been sick for weeks with a horrible cough, flu, possibly pneumonia. I’ve stopped at the store and picked her up some groceries a couple of times, but nothing says I love you like a huge pot of homemade chicken soup. Yesterday, I spent hours dicing, chopping, simmering, de-boning, and preparing a big pot of chicken soup.

I always do great until I get to the onions, that’s why I save that for last. I cry.

The soup was delicious, and I dropped off a big container at Miss Allison’s front door, and left it on the bench. She still worries about being contagious. She texted me that the soup was wonderful and she really appreciated my kindness, plus, she had enough to last her for days.

There’s chicken soup for the soul and chicken soup for your sick neighbor. I’m pretty sure the soup and gesture were good for the soul. That’s what friends are for.

Wednesday:) What Wonderful Friends I Have

31 Oct

” The nice thing about reuniting with old friends is no one seems to be getting older. We just don’t notice. Plus, we are old, so our vision is as bad as our memory.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I had the privilege of meeting some old friends for dinner tonight. They aren’t really old. Well OK, yes they are, but don’t tell them I said so. We usually only get to see each other once a year or so when I come to Chicago for Christmas. So this was a special treat.

First, Vicky picked me up from my son’s house around 1pm. We were meeting the other girls for dinner at 6, so she invited me to her house for lunch. I had mentioned that I had a bad cold, cough, runny nose etc., so she made me some homemade lentil soup. She was also going to show me how to make her world famous baklava. She knows I love it.

When we arrived at her house, we headed straight for the kitchen to start the baklava and get it in the oven.

She makes it look so easy. Actually, it didn’t seem too bad. I may try it sometime. Nah! It’s never going to taste as good as hers.

Ta-Da!

We sat and had our soup while the baklava baked in the oven. After the simple syrup was drizzled over it, and it cooled off, we had a tea party. Lin texted around 4, asking what I was up to, I said I was at Vicky’s having tea, so she joined us. Vicky made a big pot of tea and set out a big plate of the fresh out of the oven baklava. I asked her, “Well, I see my plate. Where is yours?”

Before we knew it, it was time to meet Vivian and Diane at Carson’s for dinner at 6. Carson’s is famous for their ribs and steaks. I’m not a huge fan of either, so I had the Greek chicken. Oh my. That was delicious. We sat and visited and reminisced and giggled like school girls for a couple of hours. Oh yes, and passed around grand baby photos on our phones. It wasn’t that long ago we were passing around photos of our own little ones. But, not photos on our phones. Those were the prehistoric hard copy Kodak kind of photos.

We had a great visit and planned our Christmas reunion dinner for when I return in December. Wow! Twice in a year!

I am blessed with the greatest friends all over the country, old and new. But, there are no friends like your old friends. We share a lot of memories. And sometimes we share our reading glasses, and our arthritis medicine, and our BenGay, and our Tylenol, and I could go on….

I’m sorry… this was too funny not to share…

Sunday Sermon and 60+ New Friends

21 Oct

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”

~Henri Nouwen

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Another beautiful Sunday. I love greeting before Mass, getting lots of hugs and handshakes. I passed out little cars and a beanie baby to my little friends, and ran over to welcome the Chateau bus. I gave each senior friend a big hug and a piece of chocolate candy from my Halloween stash.

Today’s Gospel was Jesus telling his disciples about the necessity to always pray, using the parable of an unfair judge who kept denying justice for pleading widow. The judge finally gave in, saying that he didn’t fear God nor respect anyone, but the widow kept bothering him so he would finally render a just decision “lest she finally come and strike me.”

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones

who call out to him day and night?

Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.

But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

My take on it… the parable is telling us that the Lord will make sure justice is quick to those who are faithful and constant, but when the final day comes, will God find any faithful? I sure hope so. Don’t give up or give into the ways of sin, greed, and corruption.

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Well, I just took a short break from writing here because the tornado sirens went off. Scary! I grabbed a big pillow, blanket, flashlight, and cell phone and took cover. I called my sister and talked to her until the sirens stopped. Now, we are just under severe thunderstorm warnings. So far, so good.

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Back to Sunday. After Mass, Helene and I had volunteered to dispense our parish picture directories in the cafeteria. Very nice books. Everyone was impressed. They looked like high school year books. We joked around saying that we should bring our books next Sunday and get autographs and ask friends to sign our books like we did in high school. “Good luck next year.” “2 good 2 B forgotten.” Remember those? They were also passing out the baby banks, where we put in our loose change and cash for a few weeks to support various children’s groups.

I got home in time finish up my pasta salad and divide into containers. I was invited to a friend’s house for a potluck barbecue at 1 o’clock Wow! Lots of great food and even better company.

Then, Helene and I had joined a church group called 60+ that was meeting at 5:30. We didn’t even know such a group existed, but we saw the sign up sheet at the church picnic a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to check it out. The only requirement is being 60 years old or more. Well, we’ve got that covered.

We met at Dave Manders’ gorgeous home in McKinney. There were probably 40 to 50 people there, with so many wonderful folks and delicious food. It was so nice to talk to people that I see every Sunday at church, but never knew their names or get to chat. Then, there were new friends to meet. We were welcomed with open arms.

Father Don was there to give the blessing before we ate, and to join us for fellowship, food, and conversation.

I feel so blessed to be part of such a loving church community. I’ve made so many good friends at St. Gabriel the Archangel, but more importantly, I’ve become even stronger in my Catholic faith. I like this quote below. “Church is who you are. Church is what you do.”

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

13 Oct

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

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An absolutely perfect Sunday morning. I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather, in he 60’s and the sky a crystal clear blue. That’s why this Psalm and song popped into my head.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus entering a village where ten lepers asked, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” He cleansed them, but only one returned, fell at the feet of his healer and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner.

Jesus said in reply,

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?

Where are the other nine?

Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;

your faith has saved you.”

My take on it… sometimes we ask for God’s help, but we forget to thank Him when our prayers are answered. But also, how many times do friends and family do something special for us, and we often take it for granted. It’s funny, I was thinking about that e other day. I thought, I need to make some special hand painted cards and send to people that have been so kind and generous to me, and just say “Thank you for all the times I forgot to say thank you.” This Gospel reading spoke to me.

After Mass, Mr. Jerry, Helene and I stopped for coffee and conversation, then I stopped at the grocery store to buy more stuff that I really don’t need, but… it was on sale.

Another walk around the neighborhood with Bella. She loves the cooler weather. So do I. Then, I decided to work outside a couple of hours. It’s been too hot for weeks, but… this is the day the Lord has made… for working outside.

I had a nice chat with my friend Debbie, from back home in Chicago. She texted me a cool shadow picture of her Halloween decorations and I did an Artisto application to it. My friend Debbie is awesome. We’ve been friends since BC… before children. I think about 1977. Thanks Deb, for all the friendship and kindness all these years. (Your other best friend is kinda skinny there.)

Now, I have to walk the dog again and think about getting something to eat. Yikes! It’s almost 7 and I haven’t eaten anything but a handful of Bugles and nuts. Crazy!

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Wednesday:) Words From Friends That Melt Your Heart â¤ï¸

3 Oct

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”–

~Marcel Proust

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To say that I have been blessed with the best, most loving friends in the entire world, is quite an understatement. Yesterday, one of my best friends from high school, (we’ve been friends more than 50 years) sent me a gift. Just out of the blue, for no particular reason, just because she was thinking of me. She saw a cute coffee cup with the words “Hola Bonita,” and thought of me.

Linda and I haven’t seen each other in years. She lives in South Carolina, but we keep in touch via Facebook now. Her beautiful card said that she saw the cup and thought of me. She said that she enjoys my daily blogs and all my silly Facebook posts. My old friend from high school was a Spanish teacher for many years. How a Polish girl becomes a Spanish teacher, I don’t know. How a Mexican girl becomes an art teacher, well, that was my forever passion.

People cross our paths for a reason, and sometimes our paths lead us in different directions. But, true friends always stay in our hearts.

Thank you for making my day. I love you Linda Tomczak Ribskis!!!

❤️❤️

My soul blossoms…

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”– Marcel Proust

Wednesday:) 9/11 NEVER FORGET

12 Sep

“September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for.”

~Sen. Lamar Alexander

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September 11th is one of those days that we will always remember what we were doing in 2001. Everyone has each detail imbedded in their brain. Everyone remembers and grieves in their own way. I bake. That’s what I do. That’s how I say THANK YOU.

This year, my dear friend, Linda Grossman, (World’s Greatest Realtor) offered to go with me to deliver brownies and cupcakes to each of our nine McKinney fire stations. That’s a big task because they’re spread all over the city.

I started my baking frenzy last night. I made a zillion mini chocolate cupcakes with the cherry in the middle, then frosted them this afternoon, also baking two pans of brownies. My kitchen is still a disaster, but well worth the chaos. The smiles and grateful handshake and hugs were the greatest reward. Also, because Linda joined me, she was able to capture some great photos on her much better camera. And, ham that I am, I was able to get in the photos too.

It took about three hours to get to all nine fire stations. And, I’ll have to say, I was a little disappointed that more folks hadn’t stopped by with treats or cards or some kind of recognition today. We went back into a few of the kitchens and saw one or two containers on the counter.

I know it’s been eighteen years, but what happened to the “NEVER FORGET” part? Anyway, I’m glad we stopped by and each station welcomed us with big smiles.

What a wonderful way to spend the day. Here’s a funny thing… when we stopped at Station 5, Linda looked at the clock to check on our time, and the clock said 5:55 and we were at Station 5. She said, “Is that some kind of sign?” Spooky? Cool! Then, I walked behind my car to go around and get the cupcakes from the back seat, and there on the ground was… a lucky penny. Spooky? Cool!

When we stopped at 5, I asked the young firefighter if he might possibly have my container from last week when I dropped off cookies? He went back and checked and said, he didn’t see one, and apologized. I said that was fine, no big deal. As we were driving away, Linda said, “What’s that noise?” I thought my car was making a noise. Turns out, two of the guys came running out and yelling as they we’re chasing the car in the parking lot. They found my container. That was so funny. I asked Linda to take a picture of the out of breath firemen.

We are so blessed to have the finest first responders right here in McKinney. You don’t have to wait till 9/11 to say thank you to a firefighter or police officer. There are 364 other days in the year that you have the opportunity to thank them. (Thank You!)

Thank you, Linda, for all your time and photos. You rock!

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