Tag Archives: true story

Pennies From Heaven:) A True Story About An Angel

22 Feb

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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This is a true story of faith and love and angels. As my sweet mother grew weaker and less alert, my sister and I would talk to her and sing to her. I prayed the rosary out loud to comfort Mom during her final days. One of the last things I whispered in her ear was, “Please Mom, when you get up to heaven, could you show us a sign that you’re OK, that there really is a heaven? I know if anyone could do it, you could. I know you’ll always be my guardian angel.”

We’ve done a lot of crying since Mom passed away last week, but today, the crying was a celebration. Mom left us a sign. Those of you who know me, you already know that I believe in lucky pennies. They always appear out of nowhere when I need them most. I always look up to heaven and say, “Thank you.”

This afternoon, my sister and I went out for some lunch. We’ve spent days and days sorting and reminiscing and making arrangements and crying, It’s been a whirlwind, so it was good to get out of the house for a little while. My sister said, “Let’s go to the library so I can vote. They have early voting, and we can return Mom’s audio-books.”

Well, early voting hadn’t started yet, so we just returned the books and got a bit teary-eyed, because Mom loved the library and all the people. She had donated her very large “Cinco de Mayo” painting to the library several years ago. It takes up an entire wall on the second floor. When I asked my sister if she needed any books or videos while we were there, she said, “Not really, let’s just go home.” Then I said, “Should we go upstairs and see Mom’s mural before we go?” Of course, we needed to do that.

The elevator opened and we walked ever so slowly towards the mural.

There on the bench, right beneath her painting, were two lucky pennies from heaven. We both burst into tears as I blurted out, “Here’s our sign. I asked Mom to send us a sign. Here it is! Two pennies, not just one. What are the chances that they would be here waiting for us today, right beneath her painting?”

I hadn’t told my sister the story about asking Mom to send us a sign until that moment. If she didn’t believe in angels before, I’m pretty sure she does now. We both knew Mom was an angel here on earth, but now, we both know that she’s up in heaven. She gave us a sign.

Thanks Mom.

What does “Pennies from Heaven” mean?

You might have come across this phrase “pennies from heaven?” It’s meaning is not as simple as it sounds. Thinking about it just means pennies being tossed down from the heaven, which has no significant meaning. But, let me enlighten you about the true meaning of this phrase. Pennies from heaven indicate the occasion when angels miss you and therefore, toss down a penny from the heaven that you receive. That penny signifies the fact that some angel in heaven is missing you and therefore wants to communicate with you.

Spiritual meaning of finding pennies

We all are aware of the fact that numbers are attached with a significant spiritual meaning but, have you ever wondered that pennies might have spiritual meaning attached to them too? If not, you will know soon.

The spiritual meaning of finding pennies from heaven is that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. It is a sign from the Heaven and our loved ones who have passed away. The sign indicates that there is magic in the world we live in, and those that have passed away are watching over us in a spiritual way; it’s their way of showing love and reminding you that they still are a part of your life.

(From Blog of the Angels)

Sunday Sermon and a Sunset

17 Sep

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” 

― Will Smith

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Another beautiful Sunday morning greeting parishioners at St. Gabriel’s. I actually remembered to wear my name tag today, and more and more people are saying, “Good morning, Toni.” I’ve been learning more names and giving out more hugs and handshakes,too. The new church building is coming along.


Today’s Gospel was another story about forgiveness. ( Is somebody up there trying to tell me something?) Peter asked Jesus about forgiveness. 

Gospel MT 18:21-35

“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.”

When the servant who owed a huge amount of money to the king begged for mercy and not to be sold, along with his wife, family and possessions, he begged… “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.” The king forgave him his debt. Later, that same man came across a fellow servant who owed him a small amount of money, and instead of forgiving the other man’s debt, he had him imprisoned. When the king heard this, he summoned the man and said, “You wicked servant!” And he asked why he couldn’t forgive his fellow servant a small debt after being begged, when he had forgiven his huge debt. The king was angry and had the man tortured.

My take on it…well, first of all, these Gospels lately have been hitting home. I’ve been working on this forgiveness chapter in my life, and I’ll admit, I’m not totally there yet. Here’s my dilemma. In all these verses and Gospel readings, someone is begging for forgiveness. And yes, we are told that God will forgive us anything if we ask Him. But, they ASK! I keep reading quotes and have people telling me that I need forgive,  even when someone doesn’t ask for forgiveness. You do it for yourself. I STILL DON’T GET IT! 

I had this discussion with friends just a few days ago. My philosophy is actions speak louder than words. I don’t have to say the words, “I forgive you,” and I still can go on with my life, without hate or anger, be the best person I can be, and have a good heart. But, unless I am asked to forgive someone or some offense, there’s no point saying the words. If they don’t even think they’ve done anything wrong or have harmed you in any way, there’s no point. It means nothing to them, so it means nothing to me.

If you ask God to forgive you, He will. That’s why He’s God and we’re just human. He knows what’s in your heart. I have asked God for forgiveness and strength, and I believe that has been granted. But, He also will NOT forgive an evil person with an evil heart. They will be punished.  Do you see the point now? You have to sincerely ask? You have to change your ways and change your heart. It’s not a free pass to do what you please.

Okay, now on a brighter note.🎼 After Mass, the Knights of Columbus had free donuts outside at a couple of tables. There was a small donation jar. I walked over, slightly tempted, as I hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday. But, I’m not a huge donut fan, even chocolate. So, I just put a dollar in the jar and said, “I’m saving the calories. Thanks for all you do.” Then, off I went to Sprouts.

Did I mention I was hungry? Uh oh! Sprouts had dark chocolate covered almonds on sale for ONLY $2.99 a pound. My downfall! That’s insane! I’m insane! I bought many pounds. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many. I’m glad I passed on the donuts.


But, before you judge me too harshly, I did buy some apples, peaches, green peppers, tomatoes, and blackberries. It looks like a lot, but I like to share with my friend, Miss Eleanor. She can’t get out to the store much.

It’s been a good Sunday. I’m going to post this and go out for a nice long walk. It’s still kinda hot out there, so I may have to stop for a beer if Mr. Larry’s garage is open. 

Here’s my sunset from last night…



Theme Song Thursday:) Lonely In A Crowd

4 Aug

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. ”
~Lord Byron

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Walking every day, rain or shine, that is my thinking time, my alone time. I must admit, the thoughts that race through my brain can be anything from, what do I need from the grocery store to, how I’d love to slap a certain person senseless. Then, sometimes I just smile and sing show tunes out loud as I walk. I’m alone, but am I lonely? Not really. Maybe, sometimes.

These past four years have been quite a whirlwind of feelings and emotions, but what I’ve really noticed is how much I’ve changed and have stepped outside of my little chalk outlined circle that was my former life. I do so much more than I ever did before. I travel more, drive for hours, and I “boldly go where no old Toni has gone before.” (More Star Trek references,)

Today, I took a long walk in the steamy afternoon. Later, I went to the movies alone. This is the second time in my life I’ve done this. Guess what? The first time I felt a little awkward, but this time was a piece of cake. No cake actually. I didn’t even get popcorn or a drink. I just had my trusty Tootsie Pop. The theatre was nearly empty. I think only 6 or 7 people for the 3:10 showing of “Valerian.” I sat alone in the dark, but I didn’t feel lonely. I had all the crazy sci-fi characters and actors and action to keep me company.

I found this song on YouTube and thought it was pretty cool.

Around 7:30, I drove over to the VFW Hall for our regular Thursday night karaoke gathering. It was pretty crowded today. I got to sing my “show tunes” out loud in front of people instead of alone. Miss Pat was happy to see me because she wore her Cubs shirt, and knew that at least one other person (me) would appreciate the Chicago connection. She just got back from a trip to Chicago. GO CUBS!



The thing about being alone is, sometimes you can be happy as a lark all by yourself, or you can be as lonely as a castaway on a deserted island in the largest crowd. It’s all in your head, your own perception. My head is getting better at discerning and deciding to be happy as a lark. I’m still a work in progress. That’s my motto.


Tuesday:) Testimony and the Trilogy 7/11, 8/23, 12/5

12 Jul

“How well you cross a storm of life determines your testimony about it.”― Sunday Adelaja

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Most of you already know my story, but for those who do not, I’d like to share this magnificent testimony. It starts out with a story of betrayal, lies, pain, and suffering that has, with time, found some solace and redemption. A journey of healing.

This is a trilogy of events spanning over four decades,  each date in time very significant.

7/11~Today is the first significant date of my testimony. On July 11, 2013, I confronted my now ex-husband about his affair with the waitress from his country club. I discovered that the sorted affair had been going on for many months. He had been coming home drunk after golf, saying he was with his buddies. Then, he went on several weekend “fishing trips” with friends. Once, he even said he had to take some business people to look at factories in Oklahoma, when he was really at the casino with her. He actually had the nerve to call me every night to check in and say what a great time he was having “fishing,” or he’d be late because the guys wanted to have dinner. Really, who does that? Always ending the phone call with, “Love you, bye.” 

I had only suspected something “fishy” when I came home from a trip to Chicago to visit family, and found absolute proof. I won’t go into all the details, but the summary is I found his bragging emails to his buddies on his computer, phone logs, hundreds of texts, disgusting photos, and a half empty bottle of viagra. There was so much more that I can’t even mention. You get the picture. So, when he came home that day, from “drinking with the guys,” and two little blue pills were missing from the hidden bottle before he went out, (yes, I counted them) I confronted him when he staggered in the door. I was smart and recorded the conversation. He denied everything, lied right to my face, said I was crazy, and tried to talk his way out of it. Finally, he said she meant nothing. We argued. He went up to the guest room. The next day, he wanted a divorce. Obviously, a call to his girlfriend that night sealed the deal. She wanted him. She could have him!

That was 7/11/2013, a day that will live in infamy. I couldn’t believe it. This from the man who said family was the most important thing in the world. We had been together 43 years, married 38 at the time. Forgive my French, but when a little tramp waitress on the prowl for a new sugar daddy starts her maneuvering, anything can happen. She literally set him up to get caught. She got her wish. I was in such pain, no sleep, I couldn’t eat or think or breathe. All I did was cry, vomit, and cry some more. I ended up in the emergency room. There was no attempt on his part to repair the marriage or the damage. He refused counseling or even discussing reconciliation. He wanted the slutty waitress. Divorce proceedings began. It was messy, ugly, and heartbreaking, at least on my part. He moved out with a couple of things, a few boxes, and left me with 38 years of stuff and memories. It took over a year to sell the house and finalize the divorce. 7/11, was the worse day of my life.

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12/5/1970~ This was a special day, the day we met on a blind date. We were still in high school, and we immediately hit it off, fell in love and were inseparable. Fast forward, 12/5/1974, he proposed on the same day four years later. We always celebrated 12/5 every year. We called it our un-anniversary, always going out to dinner or exchanging cards. It was a very special day. But, in 2013, when that day showed up on the calendar, I cried. I was alone, miserable, and still dealing with trying to sell the house, while he was shacked up with his girlfriend, partying like a teenager, and more.

I had many friends and family members to lean on, but my greatest comfort was my church. As horrible as I felt, I knew God would not abandon me and would take care of me. When I prayed, I didn’t ask for anything special. I just said, “Thank you for your strength.” That was my mantra. It was difficult at first to watch the young families or elderly couples come into church holding hands, children smiling, reverent prayers and hymns filling the air. I often found myself crying, and wiping away tears as I sang. It was almost a year before the tears subsided and the hymns were joyous. 12/5 was still a sad day.

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8/23/1975~ This was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. I married my first and only love, the man that I planned to spend the rest of my life with. When I stood at the altar on that steamy August day, I swore to God and to myself that I would be the best wife ever. We knelt at the altar, we exchanged vows, and both promised to love, honor, and cherish till death do we part. Well, we all know how that turned out. Now, I am able to joke around and say the vows should have been, “Till death do us part, or until something better comes along.” 

On 8/23/2013, I went out with a bunch of girlfriends. I requested that he come over to the house and watch his dogs that I was temporarily stuck with. He finally figured out what day it was as I walked out the door. Oh, 8-23. It would have been our 38th wedding anniversary. Instead of dinner with my husband, I was having pizza, and drinking beer with my girlfriends. That lessened the pain a little, but not much. 8/23 was still a sad day.

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NOW FOR THE TESTIMONY: THE TRILOGY OF REDEMPTION

When I told some of my friends how these three dates, the only three painful memories in my life were given a new lease on life, every one of them said, “That is an amazing testimony. You need to share it.” I couldn’t help but think, what are the chances that these three days c ould become happy memories? I believe it was a God thing.

*8-23-2014~ The year between 2013 and 2014 was an agonizing blur. The house finally sold and closed on 8-20. The court date and final divorce decree was 8-21. I closed on my new house 8-22. Everything went like clockwork. I spent weeks packing, purging, and crying. Then, the best part, I moved into my brand new house on 8-23. A brand new house and a brand new start. My youngest son came to help me move. My friends came to visit with food and to offer help. Last year I had a huge anniversary party at my house. It was the anniversary of my new home and my new life. I just may have a party every year.  8/23 is a great day.


*7-11-2015~ The previous year I was busy getting unpacked and settled into my new house, meeting neighbors, trying to adjust to being alone, with all the worries and responsibilities. After the divorce was final and he handed me the papers in the driveway of the home I was forced to leave, I never heard one single word from  him,  not one. I still haven’t, three years later. How can you say you love someone for 43 years, then not say a single word to them? While we were going through the divorce, he said, “And we can get together sometimes, talk about the boys, maybe have lunch.” When we all went to the Norte Dame game together in October with the boys and friends before the divorce was final, I said, “Well, we’ll never be doing this again!” He questioned what I meant. I said that we wouldn’t be going to football games, or sitting under the Christmas tree, or having Thanksgiving dinners together. He actually said, “Why not?” Seriously, did he say that? He hasn’t spoken to me in three years.

7-11-2015 is a wonderful memory now. My son got married on 7-11-2015. When he told me the date, he said they picked it because 7-11 is a lucky number, like in Vegas when you shoot craps. Those are the lucky numbers. He had no idea that that was the worst day of my life. But guess what? Now, it’s a happy date. A day of celebration. I danced with my son at his wedding, and I cried tears of joy on his shoulder. I danced all night with friends and family. God washed away the tears of sadness and replaced them with tears of joy. 7-11 is a great day.

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12-5-2016~ This was the last painful date that was given a second chance. The trilogy completed. It was Sunday night, 12-4. I hadn’t heard from my son. He calls every Sunday without fail. I finally called him that evening. His wife answered his phone and said they were on their way to the hospital. She wasn’t feeling well, something was wrong.  The baby wasn’t  due for another two weeks. I had my plane tickets for the 14th, baby due the 18th. I tried not to panic and just asked them to keep me posted if they could. The next morning he called and said they might have to induce and take the baby early. I prayed and prayed. “Please, Lord, let everything be ok.” I didn’t realize what time it was much less what day. I called Mom and some friends and asked for prayers. I called my neighbor and asked her to pray. Trying to console me and divert my worries, she said, “I’m sure everything will be fine. If the baby is born today, her birthday will be December 5th.” She didn’t realize the significance of that day. That’s all I could think about.

A few hours later, my son called and said,”It’s a girl, I’m a dad. Mother and baby are fine.” Those were the most beautiful words I ever heard. I cried. I was a grandma. 12-5 is a great day.


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The trilogy now complete. I have three wonderful days and memories that have erased the painful ones.

This is my testimony. What are the chances that all  three of those days would turn out to be so wonderful? What are the chances that a moving day, a wedding, and a baby being born would all happen on that particular day? Not the day before or after, but that exact date.  The odds are astronomical. 

This is my testimony. Thank you GOD!

Saturday:) Sometimes You Need To Call A Friend

25 Jun

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know. 

~W. H. Auden*************

Sometimes you need to call a friend…with power tools….not afraid of ladders and electricity ….and will crawl in your steamy attic when it’s 100 degrees outside. Now, that’s a friend.

My neighbor and good friend, Mr. Mike, (yes, I call him Mr. Mike) was kind enough to install that new RING DOORBELL security system in my house a few months ago. I have the greatest neighbors and friends. I doggie sit for Mr. Mike when he has to travel, and sometimes I’ll pick up some groceries for him if I’m at the store. If I’m out walking, I’ll stop by and take Bella for a walk around the pond. Whenever I need something or have a problem around the house, I just call Mr. Mike and he’s on the computer researching or at my house with his tools.

While I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, for some reason, the RING system stopped working. When I told Mr. Mike about it when I got home, he came right over with his power tools and a flashlight. Yesterday was a very hot day, well over 100 with the heat index, and even Mr. Mike couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the doorbell. It wasn’t getting power. He crawled up in the attic, which was more like an Easy Bake Oven up there. After taking everything apart, removing devices, and spending over an hour testing and sweating,  he went home to investigate possibilities on his computer. 

After ordering a part on next day Amazon and stopping at the hardware store for a new doorbell unit, Mr. Mike came over today and climbed back up into the attic, installed a new transformer, reattached the RING system at the door, changed out the old doorbell system that was broken, and VOILA, I was back up and running.


OK, don’t tell him I was taking pictures of his handy work. (I did ask if his last will and testament was up to date when he was joining the live wires.)


The RING system is pretty cool. It takes pictures of people and motion near your door, even at night. It notifies you on your cell phone or computer, even if you are away. It takes great pictures, doesn’t it? “Hi, Mr, Mike!” (Don’t tell)

The point of the story is, I have the greatest neighbors. I’ve always been blessed with great neighbors who have become good friends. 

Thank you, Mr. Mike. I owe you A LOT of doggie sitting and frozen pizzas. Lots!


Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~ Don’t Talk to Strangers ~ NOT

22 Jun

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”

~Fyodor Dostoevsky*******************

Back home to McKinney today. My sister took me to O’Hare early this morning to catch my flight to Dallas. No traffic jams, and we arrived in record time, so I had two hours before my flight boarded. I like to get to the airport early so I can 1.Not stress about being late 2.Relax and have some breakfast 3.Talk to strangers and meet new people.


I printed out my boarding pass at the kiosk, tsa approved, so I got through security in just a few minutes, THEN, when I went to get my bag off the rollers, there on the floor, right at my feet, was a lucky penny. (Good sign.)


I walked through the crowds and over to the food court, stopping at McDonald’s. With my brown bag with Golden Arches in hand, I scouted around to see where I would sit. Here’s what I always do at the airport…I look for someone sitting alone, and I go over and say, “Do you mind if I join you?”

I saw a gentleman with an airport employee badge on who just sat down. When I asked to join him, he was more than cordial. I introduced myself, and he said his name was Ray. Ray, a baggage handler, was on his lunch break at 9:30 a.m. I asked how he was doing, and he said tired. He started work at 4 a.m. 

(Ray had his serious selfie face on here, but he mostly had a wonderful smile when we talked.)


Ray and I talked a long time about family, work, Chicago, McKinney, hopes, dreams, faith, and more. It’s amazing how you can get to know a person pretty well in less than an hour. Subtle cues, gestures and words tell a lot about a person. Ray was very polite and called me Mam when I asked to sit down. He stood up to shake hands upon introduction. Before he started eating, he folded his hands and said a prayer before he ate. He smiled and joked and was open and honest when we talked, sharing stories about his life and his family. So, within a short time, I met a man of faith, a caring father, a man who admitted to having a turbulent troubled youth, but now blessed with a good happy life. Conclusion: a good, kind, sincere, hard working, optimistic, honest man of faith.

That’s why I like to talk to strangers. Everyone has an interesting life. Everyone has an interesting story. You’ll never hear that story unless you talk to them. It was a pleasure to meet Ray. We shook hands and said goodbye, wishing the other a good day. I said, “Take care Ray. Maybe I’ll see you next time I visit Chicago.” 


It was a good day, smooth flight, and safe arrival. My friend Karen picked me up at the airport, we stopped for an early dinner, and caught up on the latest news. 

When I got home, I unpacked, which entailed pretty much just throwing all the laundry in the washer. Then, I went for a long needed walk. I talked to a few neighbors on my journey, and caught the evening sunset. The sun was out till well after 8p.m. Because it’s the first day of summer.



It’s good to be home. Happy First Day of Summer!!!

Sunday Sermon and Some More Firemen

12 Jun

“And there’s you. You’re just beautiful. Effortlessly beautiful, like nature. You have the trinity of beauty: a beautiful heart, a beautiful mind, and a beautiful soul.” ― Kamand Kojouri

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Today is Trinity Sunday. The visiting Eucharistic Minister her at The greens asked the group who knows what the Trinity means. Mom is the only one who raised her hand and said, “The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The minisypter asked,”But, what does that mean?” No one was sure how to answer. He replied, “You know what, no one is really sure what it really means, and the concept has been studied and explained and pondered for centuries. We may never know for sure. But, we believe and have faith and continue, even without all the answers.”

I liked that concept of, you don’t have to have all the answers or have everything in black and white, concrete and crispy clear in order to believe in something or someone. 

At the end of the Mass, Mom and I had brought a couple dozen cupcakes leftover from her party. I told them all that Mom’s name is Trinidad in honor of Trinity Sunday.  They thought that was cool. Mom said she was born on Trinity Sunday. But, actually, when I looked it up, she was born the day after, on a Monday, but that was probably the inspiration for her name. Still cool.

Mom and I stayed afterwards and chatted with the other residents while they ate cupcakes and talked about how nice the 90th birthday party was. Mom was still beaming from the afterglow of all the friends and family who celebrated her special day with her Saturday. A good day.
She was so exhausted last night that she didn’t get around to opening her many presents until after church, when she could carefully unwrap and savor each gift.


Here she is reading out loud, a beautiful letter written by her dear friend and almost-daughter, Lin. Dozens of more gifts and pictures…but, I’ll spare you.

Now, for the Firemen. Last night, after the clean up and gathering up all the leftover food and baked goods from the party, we decided that we should take a couple of trays over to the local firehouse. Cousin Jeff went with me and took a picture after the guys invited us inside. They were just about to sit down to dinner. They said it was spaghetti Saturday. I think a tray of cupcakes and brownies made a nice dessert. Great guys. 


Oh, I wanted to show you why there was so much left over. This isn’t even all of the goodies that I baked for the party. There was more in the kitchen. We ran out of room on the counter. And there was a ton of other food and drinks and an official birthday cake that my sister Jo brought. But, my mother always raised us with the rule that it is better to have too much food than not enough. This way people can take some home. We like to share…and we did. 


Cheers!!!