Tag Archives: sons

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

18 Jun

“When you plant a seed, make sure to water, nurture, love and repeat. The same goes for raising children and living your life.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”

Chinese Proverb

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Wow! It was already blazing hot this morning outside of church. But, St. Gabriel’s is always cool inside with warm welcoming hearts within. We had a visiting priest from Quito, Ecuador saying Mass this morning. He travels the world raising money for The Working Boys’ Center in Quito. This center was founded in 1964 to help poor young boys working in the streets, then later entire families, helping them financially and spiritually. They have helped over 30,000 people through their programs. St. Gabriel is a very loving and generous parish.

Today’s Gospel, I thought, was very appropriate for Father’s Day… the parable of the mustard seed…

He said,

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants

and puts forth large branches,

so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables

he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it…

My take on it… whether it be the kingdom of God or our life here on earth, the tiniest seed can become the largest plant. How we raise our children, live our lives, share with others, these are the seeds that we plant today for the future. The smallest kindness or good example or generous act we do may go unnoticed by us, but may plant a seed in our children, families, friends and neighbors.

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This morning, seeing that it was Father’s Day, I went onto Facebook and posted a picture of the best father that I know. All of my friends had posted photos of their dad or their husband, saying what great fathers they were. I posted a picture of my son Joe. He embodies everything that I think a great father should be. He adores his little girl and spends so much time with her. She adores him right back. He is a wonderful son, good husband and great dad. My dad wasn’t always that great. Joe’s father wasn’t that great. But, my son Joe is that little mustard seed that absorbed all those amazing worldly nutrients and became a great dad. I can honestly say he is the best father I have ever known.

When I was looking through photos to use for my post today, I saw a picture that Joe posted on our iCloud share this morning. I may not get to see my sons and family very often, but thank goodness for technology and FaceTime. This really made me smile and tear up a little.

That little mustard seed….

My little granddaughter has the best standard by which to measure. Happy Father’s Day, Mijo.

Friday: Flowers, Fun, and Friends

10 May

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
― Luther Burbank
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The doorbell rang this morning around 10am. I scooted over to the door, but didn’t see anyone. Ah, I saw the UPS truck out by the street and a package by the door. A long, thin purple box that said 1-800 Flowers.com peeked out below the window. How exciting,

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I opened up the box and found two dozen colorful tulips. The card inside said Happy Mother’s Day, Love Joe. Yesterday, when Matt called, he asked if I was going to around Sunday because he was sending something. That’s when you know that you raised your sons well. They love their mama. Thank goodness I have a lot of vases. Thank you God, for two wonderful sons.

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Aren’t they pretty?

Later, I went to Towne Creek for my little senior art group. I brought some roses from my Knockout rose bushes. We worked on painting some scented votive candles and small glass bowls. Then, we had a feast of cheddar brats, snack mix, strawberry whipped cream cake and chocolate covered strawberries. More fun with friends on Friday.

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It was a beautiful evening, so when I got home, I went for a long walk, even though I was pretty tired. Now, I’m writing this post. A long day… A good day!

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Foot Fetish Friday

22 Feb

Whenever I see your smiling face
I have to smile myself
Because I love you (Yes, I do)
-James Taylor
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Ah, you are probably wondering…foot fetish, what’s that all about? I was trying to decide what to write about today, so I went through my thousands of pictures on my iPad for inspiration. (I do that a lot.)

I ran across this picture of my boys when they were just knee high to a grasshopper. Wow! That’s an old one. It reminded me of happy times when every little thing my babies did was amazing. Now, my babies are grown men, far away from my yearning eyes and arms, but they still make me smile.

My ringtone on my cell phone plays James Taylor’s, “Your Smiling Face, whenever my boys call. So appropriate! Another James Taylor kinda day.
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Whenever I see your smiling face
I have to smile myself
Because I love you (Yes, I do)
And when you give me that pretty little pout
It turns me inside out
There’s something about you, baby (I don’t know)……………

JAMES TAYLOR

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I bet this made you smile too!

Montage Monday: Family, Fun, and Freezing Temps

14 Jan

“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning…proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.”
― Carl Sandburg. (Chicago Quote)
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Pelting sleet, walls of snow, and subzero temperatures that would make a polar bear cry could not dampen my spirit and the joy of being back home. I have spent precious days with family and friends, with many more to look forward to. My spirit is renewed and revitalized. Sometimes you just need that hand to hold and those shoulders to hug. My sons are my dearest treasures, and being able to spend so much time with them is amazing. Life is good!

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Sunday:Sermons and Sunsets

13 Jan

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
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This is an amazing quote. If only I could write such profound prose to stir the souls and senses of mankind. Perhaps one day I will, but for now, I am content to share my joys and sorrows with my simple words, poorly constructed sentences, and less than perfect punctuation. After all, it’s a blog, not Emily Dickinson.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend with my sons. Today being Sunday, I was filled with that nagging ingrained Catholic guilt. Not so much because it was Sunday, but because there was a Catholic Church right across the street from Matt’s place. The bells ring every morning from several different churches within a couple mile radius. But really…just out his front window…guilt…guilt…and more guilt! I was up early anyway. Could it have been from all the ringing of bells since 6am?

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St. Helen’s is a beautiful traditional Catholic Church nestled in the Ukrainian Village section of Chicago. With vibrant stained glass windows, well-worn wooden pews, and gilded golden adornments, the interior evokes reverence and reflection. (Hey, that sounded kinda prose-like, didn’t it?)

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Today’s sermon was about baptism, and Father Frank reminded us that we must take our faith seriously, long after that initial sacrament. Families should live their faith every day. An amazing thing happened while we all stood for the Gospel. Just when Father began, a brilliant beam of red light pierced through the rear stained glass window and caressed my face. Call me silly, but it felt like a sign from above and it shone just for me. It was God’s way of giving my a ray of hope and the gift of love. After Mass, I lit a candle and thanked The Lord for His blessings.

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After church, I packed up to go back to Mom’s, then Matt took me out for breakfast. Afterwards, we picked Joe up, went to visit Auntie Ann, stopped by to hug dearest Mike and Shirley from the old neighborhood, then off to deposit me at Mom’s place. Many, many miles were covered, hugs and kisses shared, and a glorious sunset finalized a long day of reminiscing.

As the quotes says…
“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
Yes, I did that today!

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Saturday: Sons and Sentiment

12 Jan

There is no stronger love in this world than the love a mother feels for her children. She cries for them, she worries about them, she would die for them.
-Unknown
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My two sons have always been my my greatest joy. Some thirty years have passed since the first cry, diapers, teething and sleepless nights, but it still seems like yesterday. Where does the time go? Spending this weekend with them has been the vital energy and spiritual boost that my soul has thirsted for. Gosh, that sounds kinda mushy, doesn’t it? Well, it is!

Yesterday was my birthday and spending it with my boys was the best gift ever. I took the train downtown to meet them. We trudged through the snow to Joe’s apartment, where we decided to order Pizano’s deep dish pizza instead of slushing back out for dinner. Then we watched “Fiddler on the Roof.” If you’ve never had deep dish pizza, well, basically it has a wonderful crunchy crust with 500 pounds of mozzarella cheese mixed with a fresh crushed tomato sauce. Maybe I’m exaggerating about the 500 pounds of cheese, that is more like how many pounds you gain in a weekend here in Chicago.

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Today, we went to a movie. I hadn’t been to a movie in six months. We saw “Saving Mr. Banks.” I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Tom Hanks fan, but this was rather interesting. I even had a few tears slip down a couple times, but that’s just me. It really wasn’t a sad movie. I think my sentimental mood attributed to the tears.

Here is a cool view from the movie theatre window. I was watching Joe and Lindsay walk from their apartment. They are very close to the theatre, which is awesome for Joe, the big movie buff. Look at this scenic photo. There are two little people specs walking about mid-left of the photo and the red and white center brick building is where they live. Cool!

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We walked around a while after the movie, then what do you think we did next? Well, we went out for dinner, of course. We walked pretty much everywhere, which is the nice part about living in a big city. As we trudged through the slushy streets, I couldn’t help but think about the reversal of roles that takes place in life. My boys were taking care of me, holding my hand and helping me across the streets, paying for my meals, and worrying about me. Yes, this is a beautiful sentimental feeling. Just like a mother’s love, I believe my sons would cry for me, worry about me, and would die for me. I adore my children! I am truly blessed!

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Sentimental Sunday

7 Oct

My beautiful babies are grown men in their thirties, but this is how I see them in my heart.

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Only three days to visit, hug and hold, but each minute etched in my heart. These are the best sons in the world! Really!

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SONS
My sons have been a blessing
Even though we’re far apart
Each moment we’re together
Is etched upon my heart
Toni