Tag Archives: love

Thankful Thursday:) Happy Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Neal A. Maxwell

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.”

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When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t help but think that Thanksgiving isn’t just a day on the calendar. Thanksgiving is a way of life, and I am thankful for my many blessings, my beautiful family and my wonderful friends.

I received an early morning phone call from my friend Mandy who lives in California. She was in town visiting with family, and she asked if she and her husband Tim could stop by for a visit. Well, I was delighted. I haven’t seen her in a couple of years or more. What a wonderful surprise. I jumped out of bed and frantically started baking a batch of brownies and cleaning up the kitchen. I was so excited, I forgot to take a selfie of us …that’s not like me. So, I stole a photo from her Facebook page. So good to see you Mandy and Tim. Thank you for the visit.

After their lovely visit, I needed to walk the dog and gather up some last minute things. I called my sister Jo Ann, to wish her a happy birthday. Her birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year. When she answered the phone, I started to sing, “Las Mañanitas” in my very poor Spanish. (That’s the traditional Mexican birthday song.) She laughed, but appreciated the effort.

Then, I gathered up my brownies and Snicker peanut butter pie to take over to the Sherri and Michael’s. Here’s the cool story about the Murphy’s. When I opened my Facebook page this morning, there was a photo from 2013 of the fireplace at my old house, and a little blurb about what I was thankful for. The actual truth was, I was a total mess that year. It was my first Thanksgiving alone in 60 years.

I was going through a traumatic divorce in 2013. I was alone, afraid, and devastated. I was still married, but living alone in that big house while it was for sale and on the market. My not so discreet husband had moved out, living in a brand new condo, and was busy making Thanksgiving dinner for his girlfriend, the waitress from his country club. Those were not good days, but I was still thankful. I was thankful for my family and friends. But, I was still a big mess.

I’ll never forget that year. My friend Sherri Murphy had invited me over for Thanksgiving because she new I was alone, but I politely declined, Thanksgiving, to me, meant family, love, laughing, great food, and making memories. I felt blindsided and broken. That Thursday morning, I looked at my Facebook page and there was a cheery picture of Sherri Murphy’s beautiful kitchen, all decorated with pumpkins and the beautiful table settings. She posted a picture of the name tags she was making for each plate, and she said, “And I have one here for my friend Toni. I hope she changes her mind and comes for dinner today.”

Well, I cried like a baby, then later called Sherri and asked her what time I should be there. That’s when I realized that I WAS part of a family. Family isn’t always about blood relatives. It’s about the people who love you. I do have a wonderful family, but they live far away. But, I am truly blessed because I also have my McKinney family. They are right here, and I know I’ll always be part of their family.

Six years later, here I am. Life is good and I can honestly say that I am happy. I’ve been invited to the Murphy’s every Thanksgiving, and several other friends have invited me over too. But, I’ll never forget that day in 2013, and that place setting that said “Toni” on it, and I know that I’ll always be part of the Murphy family. I love you guys!!!

Family means love, laughing, great food and making memories.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Friday:) Forever Memories of Mom

15 Feb

“It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

― John Green

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It was one year ago today that we said goodbye to our angel mother. My memories of this beautiful lady will last forever. I feel blessed that my sister and I were there to hold her hand, just as she always was there for us, every day, every minute.

This is a bitter-sweet day. Mostly sweet, because Mom lived over 90 years, bringing joy and giving love to everyone she knew. The bitter is not being able to talk to her every day and hear her joyful voice and hear her silly laugh.

This morning I went to Mass and Adoration and thanked God for giving me the most amazing mother in the world. I felt her presence and love when I lit the candles beneath the painting of Mary Our Mother.

There will never be a more wonderful mother in the world, and I only hope that her love and guidance will help me to be a good mother, grand-mother, sister, and friend. I love you Mom. I miss you every day. ❤️

Now, those are beautiful memories.

Theme Song Thursday:) Child of Mine

28 Dec

Child of my child, and heart of my heart

Whether together, or miles apart.

A grandmother’s love is what it implies

It’s grander each day, and just multiplies.

The warmth of her heart will never grow old

The gleam of her eye, more precious than gold.

Stars up in heaven could never outshine

This child of my child, now child of mine.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I find that a poem can often express ten thousand words in just a few lines. As I sat for hours holding my second grandchild in my arms, it made me realize that the more children and grandchildren you have doesn’t divide your love, but rather multiplies your ability to love. There’s something very special about holding the child of your child. And, I look forward to living long enough to hold their children in my arms. Blessings are only multiplied as the years go by. My wandering thoughts inspired a poem to express how it feels to be a grandmother.

This has been a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. When I try to count my blessings, I realize that I can’t count that high.

Carole King’s song “Child of Mine” is the song that I chose for the mother/son dance at my son’s wedding. I softly sang it in his ear as we danced. And now, I softly sing it to my grandchildren when I cradle them in my arms.

Friday:) Follow Your Heart

8 Sep

“The harder you look for love, the harder it is to find.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Last month, I wrote a story about the heart shapes that I find on my walk. Sometimes they are air pockets in the concrete, or tar stains in the street, or dried up worms. The day I decided to search for some hearts to photograph, I could only find six heart shapes. The harder I looked, the less I found. Normally, I see so many. The point is, I was looking too hard.

So today while I was walking, I glanced down and saw a heart. Hmm… I decided to just count the shapes as I walked. They didn’t have to be perfect, they didn’t have to be on the street, but most importantly, I was just going to count them and be on my way. No looking for perfection, not searching desperately for the shape, not stopping to take the perfect picture.

Guess what happened? I noticed heart shapes everywhere. I walked for over an hour and just counted and kept track in my head. Instead of 6 hearts ❤️, I counted 65 hearts ❤️. Yes, 65.

You know why? I wasn’t searching. I wasn’t looking for for a perfect heart. I wasn’t just looking at the ground. I was just enjoying my walk and enjoying the day. I even noticed one in the clouds above me.

So, always follow your heart ❤️ and remember, “The harder you look for love, the harder it is to find.” Words of wisdom to live by. Enjoy the walk, enjoy your life.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day…Practice, Practice, Practice

15 Feb

“Art is like love, and love is like art. Both require patience and practice.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.” 

― Miguel Ruiz

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Art is like love, and love is like art. Both require patience and practice. On this  Valentine’s Day, I decided to practicice my love of art. I don’t paint as often as I’d like to. I get wrapped up with the day to day, mundane trivial pursuits of life. So today, I took out my watercolor paints, paper, brushes, and scoured through my hundreds of photos for a reference to practice. I sat down without television, phone, or any distraction. I chose this reference of cardinals enjoying the cool evening and a full bird feeder. 

Remember, a photo is just a reference, guide, or suggestion for a painting. That’s my excuse, and I’m stickin’ to it. 


This photo was a bit dark and monochromatic, so I decided to brighten it up a bit.


Practice, practice, practice. I know I need a lot more practice, but each step leads me closer perfection. Practice makes perfect. I’ll never be perfect, but will enjoy myself on the journey.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.

Friday:) Family~ Four Generations

17 Dec

“I see the reflection of my heart and soul in your eyes.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What will your children and your children’s children say about you? How will you be remembered? Will your life and decisions have inspired others to do better? Life is too short to postpone it – choose to be positive today.” 

― Lindsey Rietzsch

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My mother has been my inspiration, role model, and best friend all my life. She has always been there for me. This famous quote from Abraham Lincoln best describes my relationship with Mom. “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 

I’d like to think that I’ve been a good daughter. I was blessed with two children of my own. Hopefully, I have been an inspiration, role model, and friend to my two sons. They are both talented, smart, and caring grown men. (I know they got that from me.)

Now, my eldest son has recently become a father. I am so excited for him and his lovely wife. There is no question that he will love and cherish his child, and will be an excellent role model to his new baby daughter. 

I can’t wait to get a photo of all four generations together. Coming soon…I hope. This will be a very Merry Christmas.


I look forward to the next generation.


A Very Thankful Thursday

16 Dec

“This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven.” 

― Rick Bragg

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Today was a very special day. I held my beautiful granddaughter in my arms for the very first time. My first grandchild, it was love at first sight. When my son put this angel in my arms, joyful tears tickled down my cheeks.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is worth a million words or more.

Now, this picture is beyond a million words. Priceless!!!


She’s smiling at Grandma.