Tag Archives: Poetry

Wednesday:) What’s Your Word for 2019?

3 Jan

I am AMAZING, and I am smart.

I love to bake, and I love my art.

Writing every day renews my soul.

Walking each day, a personal goal.

Strangers I meet will become a friend.

My gifts and my blessings have no end.

I am AMAZING, you already know.

I am AMAZING because I said so.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This is a brand new year, and time for a brand new start. Each New Year’s Day, people all over the world make resolutions, set goals, and make plans for a better year. These don’t always last too long, do they?

Yesterday, I wrote about counting your blessings, and writing down the blessings and wonderful things that happen to you. Then, you put the slips of paper in a jar all year round. January 1st of the next year, read all your blessings. Keep the blessing jar in sight at all times and it will be easy to keep up with.

Another thing so many people do January 1st is to pick a word for the year. You pick a word that you want to be, or something you want to do or become. Pick a word that inspires and motivates you. Choose a positive word with wonderful energy and power. It’s like your mantra. Every day, think about your word. Become your word. It can be a new word or one you’ve used before. Define your word, envision it, and live it.

It is suggested that you pick your word. Look up the definition. Have the word become a part of you. Have your word written somewhere you can see all the time. Say your word out loud every day.

WHAT IS YOUR WORD FOR 2019?

I chose my word right away. It’s a word I’ve used before and I’ll use it again. It might be my forever word…

AMAZING

I am AMAZING! Whenever I wear this leather cuff, I tell people, “Look! I am amazing, and I have a bracelet that says so.” (I made this bracelet in a leather tooling class.)

amazing FL adjective

Definition of amazing 

: causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise

an amazing story of personal bravery and survival

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I like this definition and example. Causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise. An amazing story of personal bravery and survival. Yep!

So, what is your word???? Pick a word. Share your word. Live your word.

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.

Monday Memories:) Tommy’s Back In Town

27 Nov

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

― Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Normally I have a montage Monday post, but today, when I was looking at my Facebook page, my friend Sherri posted a picture of a street musician sitting on a bench on the Square. I was so excited! It was my old friend Tommy.

I met Tommy a few years back while I was strolling the Square. He was playing his guitar on a bench outside of Snug, so I sat next to him and chatted when he took a break. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and I started to worry that Tommy might have gone to the big music hall in the sky. He was a wandering minstrel that never put down roots or had a permanent job, just wandered around the country. I was so pleased to see that he was alive and well and back in McKinney. (Photo: Sherri Murphy)

Yay! Tommy’s back in town.

Here’s the story and poem I wrote a few years back when I first met Tommy.

Thought I’d share this story with all of you. )

TOMMY AND MABLE

Tommy sat on the cold metal bench outside a little coffee shop in downtown McKinney. His raspy muffled voice crooned a soft country song, while aged yet agile fingers strummed across the well worn strings of a blue acoustic guitar. Salt and pepper hair brushed across a ruddy bearded face as a crisp north wind kicked up. Tommy reached over to secure the two wrinkled dollar bills flapping inside the open guitar case. He carefully tucked the ends of the bills under the small stack of prized CDs bearing his image and that of Mable, his faithful companion of thirty-seven years.

Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire,” soulfully echoed across the Square, and Tommy’s foot tapped along with each rhythmic beat. I dragged a wooden chair across the brick sidewalk, and then parked myself a couple feet away from the real-life Texas troubadour. I enjoyed each rendition of old familiar tunes, as well as the original compositions inspired by nearly forty years of life on the road.

“Tommy, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, ” I asked when he took his first cigarette break. “Where are you from?”

“I was born in McKinney, Texas. Haven’t been back here in over thirty years.” His tone and demeanor became a bit more serious when he described his early childhood.

“Yep, I was born right here in McKinney. My folks got killed when I was thirteen. They wanted to put me in foster care, so I took off and rode the rails. Never looked back. Been traveling ’round the country ever since.”

His eyes brightened and a little crooked smile appeared when he started talking about Mable. “We’ve been together for thirty-seven years now. I was rummaging around in a dumpster looking for cans one day, when I ran across this old black guitar with a broken neck. She was in bad shape, but I fixed her up with some glue and tightened up her strings.”

The adventures were mixed with making new friends and happy times, sprinkled with the hard hungry days.

“We’ve walked across all these forty-eight states, just playing music for folks and living off what they put in my guitar case.”

Tommy went on to describe the nomadic life of a traveling troubadour. “I’ve never run into anyone else who does this. It’s an honest livin’. I don’t beg. I just play my music and if folks like what they hear, they drop a dollar or two in my case. Sometimes I’d ride the rails from one town to the next or just walk ’till I couldn’t walk no more.”

I listened as he carefully crushed the tiny cigarette butt beneath his worn out walking shoe and tossed it in the trash can beside the bench. “I don’t stay in one town for more than a few days. Never had a wife or kids. Wouldn’t be right, with me movin’ round so much. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

When I asked about Mable, he said she was named after his beloved grandmother. The old black acoustic guitar with hundreds of scrawled signatures from front to back, now sat in the window of Snug on the Square, just a few feet away. I asked if I could take a picture of him and Mable, so he walked over and took her out of the window. I could see the jagged repair on her neck and her strings were missing.

“Mable’s retired. When you retire a guitar, you take off the strings. Need ’em for the next one.” Then he pointed out the spot where Elvis had scribbled his name one rainy night in ’69 in Mobile, Alabama. But, he was just as proud of the signatures from a group of women that signed her after a Susan B. Koman walk a few years back.

“ I decided that it all began here, so it should end here. I’m leaving Mable with Sandra and these nice folks. I know they’ll take good care of her.”

Tommy mentioned that when he came back to McKinney after being gone for so long, he strolled along the unfamiliar streets and asked around at a few shops and restaurants downtown to see if he could set up somewhere and play his guitar. Sandra Nichols, owner of Snug on the Square, was the only one who welcomed him and treated him with respect. “That’s when I knew my Mable would have a good home and a good family right here. They’re going to keep her right there in the window.”

I was intrigued by the story of Tommy and old Mable, especially the long and loving relationship the two shared. So, of course, I was curious about the new acoustic.

“Tommy, what’s the name of your new guitar? I was sure it would be another interesting story.

He turned his whiskered face and answered, “Haven’t named her yet. She’s gotta earn it.”

After taking a few pictures and recording a couple segments of Tommy serenading and smiling at passers-by, I said farewell to the wandering minstrel from McKinney. I shook his talented weathered hand and dropped all the cash I had in the old black guitar case. Who knows when Tommy will be passing this way again?

Tommy and Mable

With silver hair and a crooked smile

Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile

As you tap your toes and start to sing along

He shares each word, and has lived each song

His guitar is closer than any family

And the road, the only home he’ll ever see

But he and Mable have a need to play

Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay

They’ve seen the whole country from east to west

And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best

Mable’s been signed by many a star

Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar

But the real country singer never settles down

‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

Toni Andrukaitis

Saturday:) Signs, Symbols and Poetry

30 Sep

“Everything you see is merely a symbol for things you do not see.”

― Seth Adam Smith

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Those of you who know me will attest that I’m a huge believer of signs and symbols. I love finding my lucky pennies and feathers. But, there are many more symbols that catch my attention. This week was filled with happy signs, and inspired a little poetry as I walked in the misty morning.

SIGNS, SYMBOLS and POETRY

Blackbird, blackbird, just sitting in a tree

Are you a mockingbird, laughing at me?

Or a kind messenger, sending a sign

There to tell me that everything is fine.

Ladybug, Ladybug, perched at my door

Waiting to tell me, there is something more.

The symbol of luck, abundance and peace

Open up the door, enter and release.

Butterfly, butterfly, making no sound

I found you laying, injured on the ground.

There in my hand, you didn’t question why

A sign that both of us were meant to fly.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~ The Library

15 Aug

A REFUGE

A refuge for the weary heart

Where words whisk you away

To castles in Medieval times

Where boys and dragons play.

In books we can escape the world

Make all our dreams come true

No matter what you’re searching for

There is a book for you.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Monday, after a busy day of running around, baking brownies, stopping at the fire station, going to the Senior Center dance and lunch, getting my vehicle inspection at the Honda dealer, stopping at Towne Creek with more donations from Miss Pat for their auction, I actually had about an hour free before the McKinney Creative Community Potluck at The Cove. Wow! I sure can squeeze in a lot in one day.

The Cove just so happens to be across the street from the McKinney Library. I haven’t been to the library in months, so I decided that this gloomy rainy evening called for the wonderful magic of words and pictures on the page. I’m an artist and a writer, so I have the need to touch the glossy paper pages, and admire each illustration and photo. A feast for the eye and soul. I love the library!

Of course, being a goof, I needed to take a selfie in the stacks of shelves. I sat in a comfy chair with a huge pile of art books, and skimmed and peruse and admired and got a few ideas for projects that I’ll never get to. Thus, the dreams.

I love the sculpture they have outside on the bench. If it wasn’t raining, I would have joined the old man and the young boy, entranced in the wonder of words.

Happy Birthday to My Angel Mother In Heaven

6 Jun

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN HEAVEN

Mourning doves whisper, while the cardinal sings,

They chirp and fly past me on soft angel wings.

Today, seven butterflies brushed past my face,

Reminding me that Mom’s in a special place.

Today is her birthday, so now you can see,

Why these winged creatures were following me.

I asked for a sign, before she slipped away,

“When you’re up in heaven, send a sign you’re okay.”

Maybe it’s Mom, or just a sign from above,

My angel in heaven is sending her love.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

June 6th. Wow! This is the first time in many, many years that I haven’t been in Chicago to celebrate Mom’s birthday. It feels very surreal, unreal, just plain weird. Everyone misses her so much. When I woke up this morning, I said out loud, “Good morning, Mommo! Happy birthday!” I called my sister this morning and we reminisced and cried. So many beautiful memories of a beautiful lady.

When I went for my morning walk, the birds were chirping and fluttering by. Then, one by one, different butterflies followed me along my path. Some fluttered past my face, others brushed my arms and hands as I walked. I could have touched them, they were so close. I smiled big smiles, and thought of Mom, sending me signs. She is still sending me signs.

I wondered if Mom was having cake and ice cream in heaven. (I hope there are angels who like the extra frosting.) She loved her ice cream. And, when I visited, she always saved me her frosting and she ate the cake part. She said the frosting was too sweet. I saved her my cake part, but neither forfeited our ice cream. We made a good team. It’s a bitter-sweet day, but I was holding up okay.

When I opened my Facebook page, I was glancing through all the posts from friends and family. Then, I read a beautiful tribute from Vanessa. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time. This beautiful little girl that Mom and Dad babysat for from the time she was an infant, grew to become part of our family, and they loved her like a grand-

daughter… because she was to them. Now, this little angel is a mother herself, with a beautiful baby boy. She wrote an amazing tribute to both my mother and father, but mostly how much my sweet mother influenced her life. Tears…

That is just beautiful, Nessa. Love you guys!

Sunday Sermon and Mother’s Day Memories

14 May

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

― Abraham Lincoln

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My favorite picture of my mother and ME. (I cringe when people say my mother and I. Improper grammar.)

On my way to church this morning, I couldn’t help but feel sad on my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I miss my daily morning calls. I miss her sweet voice and her giggles on the phone or her hugs and laughter when we were together.

This morning, as I greeted at the door before Mass, I felt a comfort knowing that Mom was in heaven and smiling at me. She has sent me many signs, lucky pennies and butterflies that follow me around. So, I know there’s a heaven and Mom is there patiently waiting for her family and friends.

Today, being Mother’s Day and Ascension Sunday, made it even a more beautiful service. The children came up and sang as they put flowers by the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Today’s reading was about Jesus telling the disciples to go out and proclaim the gospel.

MK 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

My take on it… back then, we didn’t have radio, television, the internet, Facebook and Twitter. People had to travel and send letters to share news. We have all these gifts and technologies at our fingertips. You would think that we could spread love and hope and goodwill throughout the world. You would think we could end war and hatred and evil. Hasn’t worked so far. So, let’s keep trying.

At the end of Mass, Father asked all the mothers to stand up for a special blessing. As we stood, and all the other congregation raised their hands to join in the blessing, Father asked God to bless all the mothers, mothers in heaven, women who are loving caregivers, and all the nurturing women who take care of so many people. Uncontrollable tears rolled down my face. I tried to look up to stop them from trickling further. That didn’t work, so I just went with the flow…literally.

Reposting my poem for my angel mother.

My Angel Mother

If you don’t believe in angels

I’m here to say it’s true

There are angels up in heaven

They’re watching over you,

So, I asked my angel mother

I whispered in her ear

When you get up there in heaven

Please show us you are near.

If only you could send a sign

As only angels can

We will know you’re safe in heaven

And that you have a plan.

To watch and guard us every day

You’ll guide us from above

So, you left two lucky pennies

Beneath your painting, signed with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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When I went for my long afternoon walk, I said,”Well, its Mother’s Day Mom. Are you going to send me a sign?” Almost an hour later, I’d forgotten my request. I was a couple of blocks from home, and that annoying smooshed beer can was still by the curb on a neighbor’s lawn. I didn’t want to carry it all the way home, but turned around to pick it up. As I picked up the grungy can, just a few inches away was a lucky quarter.

I guess it was my Mother’s Day bonus. 25 times as lucky as a penny. Thanks Mom.