Tag Archives: memories

Saturday:) Setting an Example and Raising the Flag

5 Jul

“When you set a good example to the world, you become a flag waving on the skies of the entire world!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan


This 4th of July is definitely the most unusual and surreal 4th that I have ever known. For the past 15 years, I usually was on the Square, watching the parade, eating ice cream, talking with old friends and making new friends. Not today.

But, I have my memories and old photos to remind me of the good ol’ days. Hopefully, this will be the last scary/weird 4th of July. Who knows?

My all time favorite 4th of July photo is this one of my granddaughter placing a small American flag in her front yard. I’m sure she wasn’t sure of the significance, but you could tell that she knew that it was important. That’s why I’m so proud of my son and daughter-in-law. They are setting a fine example for their children, teaching them love and respect, and to honor their country.

A small flag in a small hand, a big head start in a big heart. ❤️🇺🇸

Memories from last year…

Cheers, my friends. Happy Red, White and Blue, Blue Ice Cream Black Russian 4th of July.

Theme Song Thursday:) Painting Memories

23 Aug

We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.

Jeremy Irons


Tomorrow, Friday August 23rd will be the official 5 year anniversary in my beautiful new home and my beautiful new life. Being an artist, I have literally hundreds of paintings, drawings, sketches, hand painted glasses are, and endless craft projects crammed in bins, piled on shelves and leaning against the walls in stacks. When I moved into my house, I hung up a couple of store bought prints and gifts I’d been given, but nothing of my own. A couple of years ago, After Mom went to heaven, I did hang up the portrait I painted of her.

When I first moved in, my talented artsy friends had said they’d come and help me decide where to hang some of my work. The years flew by and we never got around to it. So, about a month ago, I brought down a bunch of my paintings and leaned them against the wall and floor to see where they might want to live. Actually, it’s called procrastination.

I gave myself a deadline of Friday to finally hang my artwork. For the last three days, I’ve been hanging paintings, playing music, and finding the perfect spot for my favorite paintings. This being done well after midnight. Last night it was 2am before I put down my hammer.

Here are my newly adorned walls. I need more walls, still so many paintings that need a home.

Then, to add a little excitement to my late night adventures, one of my smoke alarms started chirping around 1 am. So, I scrambled to get the ladder out, grabbed my cell phone in case I plummeted to my imminent death, and changed the battery.

Now, for my favorite wall of all… my wall of crosses and crucifixes, a constant work in progress. Many of these are gifts from special friends from special places. Each one has a memory. Each one is a blessing.


Theme Song Thursday:) Memories

14 Feb

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”

~Alek Wek


I opened my Facebook page today, and the first photo I saw was from my memory post. It melted my heart and some liquid slipped down my face. A beautiful memory for Valentines Day. The beautiful face of my favorite angel in heaven. That was Mom’s favorite photo of us. Mine too.

More memories for today… on the same page was a memory from 2 years ago. My beautiful first grand-daughter.

Then today, there was a brand new post of my brand new grand-daughter.

Today, on this gorgeous Texas Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating these memories and these moments. So many lovely memories and people, and I plan on making new memories and making new friends. ALWAYS!

Throwback Theme Song Thursday:) Frosty the Snow Man

14 Dec

Snowmen fall from heaven unassembled.     



I thought I’d share a throwback craft project from last year, and add a little theme Song music for the holidays.


Last year around this time, I was at Mom’s place, painting ornaments, boxes, notecards, and making snowmen craft projects with mini and regular size Hershey bars. It’s a fun and easy project. Mom loved passing them out to her friends. I sure do miss my mom. It’s hard to believe that she’s not here. This is our first Christmas without her. But, she’s a crafting, painting, singing, dancing, and playing piano in heaven. That’s my Angel Mother.

Here’s the snowman project…

The little ones are cute too, aren’t they?

Just measure the width of the candy bar and add an inch. I just used white copy paper. The hats and eyes were made with black construction paper. The orange nose with construction paper too. A glue stick and tape are the easiest for securing. I used ribbon for the scarves and frayed the edges, twisting together with some wired star ribbon. A little pink chalk for the cheeks. You can improvise with materials you have at hand. You can use real buttons or felt for the hats. I just happened to have some cool things. You can also just use markers for the eyes and nose. Even the scarf could be drawn on with markers. Just use you imagination. One thing to be careful of… don’t eat all the candy before you get a chance to make the snowmen. (It’s been known to happen.)

Theme Song Throwback Thursday:) Memories

6 Apr

“A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.”

~Honore de Balzac


I’ve been going through a tangled jumbled heap of costume jewelry that belonged to my sweet mother. I touched and reminisced and sorted through dozens and dozens of sentimental pieces, many of which were gifts from me, family and friends. But, when I was packing up the plastic container with all the neat compartments, the box slipped off the bed onto the floor. So I just heaped the piled into a large zip lock bag, and put it in my carry-on bag when I flew home. Needless to say, security went through my bag and even had to separately rescan the jewelry a second time.

I was still in the process of de-tangling today, when I came across a very special locket.

Memories came flooding back. Memories of babies and families and special gifts and unconditional love. That huge pile of costume jewelry is probably only worth a few dollars monetarily, but the memories are priceless.

When I get nostalgic, I write poetry and I sing songs and I get misty. That’s what I do.


A tiny silver locket

A picture tucked inside

It was given on her birthday

She showed it off with pride.

A picture of her grandsons

On the back, her favorite part

The inscription said, I love you

And was worn next to her heart.

So, now I have her locket

Those memories will not fade

I’ll place Mom’s picture next to theirs

New memories to be made.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Saturday:) Sorting Through the Photos and the Memories

18 Feb

“A good photograph never belongs to the past; every time you look at it, it is with you, it is alive and it is in the present moment!”

Mehmet Murat ildan


I’ve been sorting through hundreds of Mom’s photos,realizing that she neatly organized them in absolutely no form or fashion. There are dozens envelopes secured with ancient rubber bands, and a few small albums with artwork and art shows. They were in a bunch of file boxes. The photos are interspersed with pictures from the 70’s, mixed in with recent great-grand-baby pictures, and a few copies of faded wedding pictures from the 40’s, all mixed together. No time line. Then, my sister informed me that that was just the pile in the top part of the cabinet. There are hundreds more in the lower cabinet.

I decided to sort as many as I could in a few boxes into several categories. Family, friends, artwork, the place where she lived, and then her individual pictures of her alone.

This is going to take a very long time. Not only am I trying to organize the pictures, I’m looking at each one and remembering each event. It’s like a movie newsreel that jumps all over the place. I have become a “time traveler.”

The one common theme in all the photographs is, “My mother was an amazing woman.”

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni!

18 Jan

“I like to think that when I paint vases, wine glasses, ornaments, or other special gifts, that I’m making a special memory for that person. They know they’re made with love. You just can’t buy that at the store.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


What’s cookin’ Miss Toni? Why, glass vases, of course.

I’ve been so blessed to part of the women’s CRHP 28 or Welcome retreat group at St. Gabriel’s these past six months. All the ladies have been meeting every Tuesday and other planning days to prepare for the next incoming group. Because I was out of town for over five weeks, I wasn’t able to join in several of the crafting and planning days. I tried to think of what I could make at home to contribute. We were in need of some table decorations, so I volunteered to paint some vases. Our color scheme is purple and grey, so I painted lavender flowers.

I spent two day painting the different layers, then baking in the oven for durability. I smiled and enjoyed every minute, because I knew that this tiny contribution would add to the beauty of the powerful retreat weekend.

They turned out pretty nice. We are going to put battery operated votive candles at the bottom. I’m pleased. I can’t wait to see all the other crafts and gifts the other ladies made with love, while I was gone.

First layer, then leaves and stems next. Then, into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Here’s what’s cookin’.

Voila! Baked, cooled and ready to share.

Tuesday:) Tribute to Family and Friends in Heaven

27 Dec

“Life is short. Make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

~Billy Graham


With all the festivities, fun, and family gatherings over, the day after Christmas is always a let down.

When I was at Mass yesterday morning, kneeling next to my first born child, now a father himself, I was thankful for my family and blessings. I looked at the other families, worshiping together and giving thanks for their blessings. It made me think about all the people who were alone during the holidays. I thought about families, separated at Christmas by death, divorce, military, police or firefighters, working, or homeless. I thought about the people who were up in heaven. It was a sad time, yet a happy moment to have all those thoughts course through this my head. I cried.

We may have known loss and pain, but we can think about our happy memories and joys. With a new year approaching, this is a good time to reflect on those joys and happy memories. We can remember those who are gone, but not forgotten. Life is short, make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings,

Tuesday:) Timeless Treasures

2 Aug

“Every keepsake is a memory, and every memory is a time and place in someone’s heart.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“What we spend, we lose. What we keep will be left for others. What we give away will be ours forever.” ― David McGee


I wanted to write and share this story at the end of May and plum forgot. Or did I? I don’t remember now. Well, it started sometime in March. I was cleaning out the fridge and organizing the kitchen, when I ran across this little bottle of wine. It was a wedding souvenir for the attendees of Kevin and Margies wedding on May 30, 1987. When I looked at the bottle that has traveled and been packed up from house to house, New Jersey, to Illinois, and then to Texas, I wondered , why in the world did I still have this. 

Kevin was the son of Barbara, the sweet lady who was our relocation realtor who found us our house in New Jersey when we moved there in 1986. She was so impressive, that when her son graduated college and was looking for work, she asked Tony, (Mr. EX, as I call him,) if he could interview at his company. Long and short, Kevin was a great guy, got the job, and later we were invited to his and Margie’s wedding. I really didn’t see them more than a handful of times when we lived in NJ, but they were a nice young couple. We moved back to Illinois in ’88. The little wine bottle traveled along.

When I discovered this keepsake and realized that it was nearly 30 years old, and their anniversary was coming up, I did some research. I couldn’t find them, but Miss Barbara, low and behold, was still selling real estate. I contacted her through the company website. She then called her daughter-in-law, Margie, and told her about the keepsake. Margie emailed me…


Hi Toni,

Barbara told us that she received a nice email from you recently. I laughed when you told her, that for some reason, you still had the small bottle of wine from our wedding. That is too funny. I think we used all of the extras in our early marriage cooking fiascos….

(Some personal greetings and family stuff I edited out.)

Anyway, when I heard that you contacted Barbara, I just wanted to reach out to you and say hello. Stay well and God Bless you and your family.
Warm regards,

I replied to the email and asked for their address so I could send them their wine bottle for their 30th anniversary. She was pleasantly surprised, and for some reason, I thought it was meant to be. Maybe that’s why I kept it all those years, so this nice couple could have this special memory and warm wishes from a long ago acquaintance.


Hi Toni,

Thank you so much for your package and card. The card and envelope are gorgeous. You have a wonderful talent. (I sent a handpainted card) I may be sending the card back to you in 30 years to remind you of your exquisite talent. I put the wedding favor in our hutch as it will make a nice keepsake. I remember when I was deciding on wedding favors, my Mom and I had a little spat at the time. (More personal stuff.)…

Kevin and I are looking forward to celebrating our Anniversary with a trip to Punta Cana. He works so much that I hope he is able to unplug for a while. He has been known to go on vacation and continue to work for several hours per day.

Have a nice summer and thank you again for your thoughtfulness.


Sometimes you hold onto things for no reason, or it seems like for no reason at the time. But, every keepsake is a memory, and every memory is a time and place in someone’s heart. I’m glad I sent Margie and Kevin a little memory from 30 years ago. Not everyone gets a happily ever after, but some do.

Saturday With Mom:) Some Snow And Some Other Stuff

18 Dec

“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” 

― Steve Maraboli


I never thought I’d miss the snow, but to share the view and the day with my sweet Mom, now, that is a perfect day. This is the view from her balcony window. We are all toasty warm inside…very warm…Mom keeps her thermostat somewhere between 82 degrees and the boiler room of Hades. 

We started off the day with chorizo, potatoes, and eggs wrapped in a warm tortilla. Ah…home cooking and memories.

Then, we took a nap. We have a lot in common with babies. All we do is eat and sleep. Not really. We had some fun painting. (We were being silly, too.)

Mom and I are making memories and making a mess in the kitchen. 

Last night, we had Black Russians. It was Friday night, and that’s my Friday tradition, and Mom was kind enough to join me. 

Extraordinary memories with Mom.