agnestirrito

"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


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Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

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Resolutions took shape this year. After many lessons from my sis, the knitting finally took off. I have several projects going…the latest is knitting with fabric strips. Fun!

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Baked my first real loaf of bread this year, too…no machines involved except the oven. Rewarding feeling.

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Jonquils and geraniums bloomed. As always, they speak to me.

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There were a few fishing days in the spring.

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…and in mid April, I lost my best friend. I’ll always miss her.

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May brought more loss, but also a sense of determination to live each day to the fullest. I started my own monthly countdown to 50, and friends stepped up to help me .

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Summer brought its own gifts.

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There was time to pick berries, make art.

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Another quilt made…progress in the year. And watercolor. Making time for art.

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There’s no photo for starting this blog on July 23, but I’ll add something here to represent its start.

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There were teaching days, writing days, days of welcome awards.

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There were days of change, of welcome renovation.

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There were days of celebration.

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There were days of surprise, and remembrance, and hope for good to come.
Sweet remembrances, dear readers, are what I wish for you. Here’s to a creative and well lived 2013. Thank you for your support during the past few months. I appreciate you.


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Sunday’s Song: Celebration

Christmas is still here, dear readers.
It just began on December 25.

In true Epiphany fashion, I’ll celebrate until January 6.

I wait all year to celebrate, and I surely plan to take advantage of each day of this precious season.

How I enjoy these days, maybe even more once the hurry is over. Lists aren’t nearly as important right now; it really doesn’t matter if we gave or received the perfect gift or not.

True, I always feel a little whisper of sadness, another Christmas gone, but I also feel like hollering,

There is no rush to unplug the lights just yet.

I’m still celebrating. Christ has come.

I stopped to visit the manger scene at church today. A precious baby offers hope to a weary world.

I’m here He reminds me. Leave the lights on a little while longer.

Amen.


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Saturday’s Snapshot and Writing Challenge: Faithful

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Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.

The above prompt is today’s writing challenge. I usually post snapshots on Saturdays, so today I decided I’d choose one that goes along with my response to the writing prompt.

Faith. There have been times I did not have it, and I can tell you this, those were some dark days.

At Christmastime and every day, I need the light that faith provides. I see faith as a candle shining, a baby with outstretched arms promising…that’s what I see.

I know we all walk our own paths in this life, and I’m not here to debate right or wrong, truth or lie.

I only know about me. I know that faith sustains me. I look for the good and I find it. I ask for help and I receive it.

I have outward signs of faith: a rosary, a prayer journal, a crèche for baby Jesus.

The inward signs, though, are what sustain me: memories of answered prayers, daily reminders through people I know, a determination to live and look for good.

So, this word faith, is it something more than goodness and light? Well, of course.

It is God in me. It is God in every person I meet…friend as well as enemy, believer as well as those who are unsure, or who say No, no faith for me. I know this can be so because it has been so for me. There can be a turning point whether one is looking for it or not.

It is faith that through each encounter with another, just by being a messenger of light and childlike goodness, maybe
a spark of something good results…and call it faith or not, we do need more of that.


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Friday’s Five

It’s Friday, so that means I’m listing five
more blessings from the past week. It’s always easy…and that’s a blessing in itself.

White Christmas, 2012…the element of surprise was a real gift as we watched flake after flake settle into its perfect place;

My family of four home together for the holidays–it may not always be this way, but it was this year;

The yearly tradition of driving around neighborhoods to look at lights on Christmas Eve–thankful for the effort of those who take the time to decorate;

Sitting by the tree Christmas morning opening gifts with my family with carols playing in the background;

Cards in the mailbox—honoring the tradition of opening each one carefully as lights sparkle on the tree…and counting each sender as a special gift.

Here’s to all our gifts…every single day.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

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Yesterday’s paper’s headline proclaimed Experts wrong; quite a White Christmas

And it was.

The snow started here around 3:00 in the afternoon, a blissful event.

I never get tired of seeing sunlight sparkle on it, of freezing while trying to get a shot or two, of hearing the distinct crunch of fresh snow.

Definitely a nice Christmas surprise for East Texas…


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Daily Writing Challenge: High Noon

Response to Christmas Day writing challenge:

At noon today, take a pause in what you’re doing or thinking about. Make a note of it, and write a post about it later.

My pause was rain. Thunder was rumbling, lightning was flashing, and as my daughter and I stood in the kitchen cutting up vegetables for a dish we were taking to her grandma’s house later, I was glad for the moment to pause and think.

A rainy Christmas is a real gift to me. There is something comforting about rain, something that says home. And, since we don’t see much rain here lately, it’s a most welcome gift.

Our pond is filling back up. I see puddles in the yard. My boots squish…an unfamiliar sound.

The best part, of course, was the coming snow. In the middle of all the experts’ chiding that we would not have a white Christmas, by 3:00, flakes were falling steadily and continued to fall throughout the evening.

Let heaven and nature sing…


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It’s Christmas…and a Little Child Shall Lead Me

I’m preempting the usual Tuesday Teaching Tip today, of course.

Merry Christmas! The two words I keep in my heart all year.

May this day hold glad greetings, moments for memories, and just generally a feeling of joy. Pure joy like the little girl who came skipping down the aisle at the children’s mass last night at my church.

She was in a procession of children who were bringing lit candles to place at the altar in honor of Jesus’s coming.
Once she placed her candle, she turned and skipped joyfully back to her place.
The congregation broke out in laughter and applause.

Oh, to have that much joy all of our lives.

Do we dare?

Maybe this is a teaching tip after all…this time the child leads the way.

Once more, Merry Christmas!!


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Traditions: Letters from Santa

It’s Christmas Eve, and that’s my cue to recheck my list, then settle in to write Santa’s yearly letter to my kids.

It’s a tradition I started almost two decades ago, and one my son and daughter still seem to appreciate.

I have a few friends who have adopted this same custom for their children, and that brings me joy, too.

Simply, I write a letter in Santa’s voice, chronicling the year for each child. I remind them of victories, of the value of faith, of milestones.

I hope they’ll reread them through the years and maybe even start the same tradition for their own children one day.

It’s a gift I look forward to giving all year long.

Here’s to writing and remembering and all gifts worth keeping…

Merry Christmas.


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Sunday’s Song: Expectation

Well, dear readers, here we are.

The fourth candle is burning today on the Advent wreath. These weeks came fast this year, and now we wait only two more days for Christmas.

It’s a time of expectation. It’s also a time for the unexpected.

I’m sitting back in a doctor’s office as I write this…the Sunday before Christmas…waiting to get this same problem finger looked at again.

Although it is better than four weeks ago, it is still red and clearly not healed. So, I sit here masked as the other patients hack and wheeze around me.
We just never know…

On a good note, though, the gifts are purchased. Groceries are bought. Hopefully, there will be time tonight to finish up the wrapping. And thankfully, I am free from work responsibilities for two full weeks. Time is a gift.

Things don’t always go like we expect. I think of my son’s first Christmas. He was three months old and spent his holiday in the hospital under an oxygen tent.

I am very aware of how richly blessed I am on this day, regardless of where I am sitting.

Today is also the five month anniversary of this blog. I’m sticking to a plan to write every day for at least a year…so far, so good. I never expected to go on a writing journey, but here I am, learning more every day.

Thanks to the readers who have stuck with me. My plan while on break is to finally reciprocate and read and follow more of your blogs, too.

On this final Sunday of Advent, I have decided to look forward with high expectations. The Lord is coming to us again, like He does every year, filling us with hope and joy and showing us the promise that lies within each of us.

I hope your Christmas is all you expect it to be.

Merry Christmas.