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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Friday’s Five

Here’s five of this week’s many blessings:

Rain. The nine o’clock sky is illuminated tonight…huge thunderstorm in progress. We need the rain. I’m thankful to be inside, to have a garage for the dogs to take refuge in, and for the milder temperatures this summer. My daddy loved to watch lightning. I’m glad for his memory tonight.

Nature. A swallowtail fluttering back and forth on my evening walk with my daughter tonight, fireflies last night, hummingbirds darting every day.

Teachers. I’m passing on many teaching materials to many friends…and to my son. He came to my classroom today and took several loads of materials to his new classroom across town. Thankful for the blessing of his new job. Some friends are helping me get my room ready for the coming year…huge help.

Projects. I’m really thankful for the day’s to do list. There’s a quilt in progress, several scarves, an etsy shop name on the front burner. These are diversions, but necessary ones.

Prayer. Rosaries, candles flickering in churches far and near, novenas. The power of prayer. I count on it.

Have a great week, dear readers.
Keep looking up.

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Tuesday’s Lesson: New Day, New Goals

It’s strange knowing I’ll categorize this entry as both cancer and beginnings.

But that’s exactly what I will do.

This blog has taken me (and many of you with me) through 365 days of wondering and wandering, of questions and answers, of surprises–good and terrifying. Such is this life.

I started here searching for a better way to do things, a determination to pay attention. That paid off.

Now, my husband’s cancer diagnosis was nowhere on the radar during those early months, but writing here has helped me notice, remember, focus.

I awoke this morning to see the “one year anniversary” WordPress icon on my notification page. That felt good.
It felt even better to know I was able to meet my own goal of an entry per day for a year.

We need goals. Now I need some new ones.
One I’ve mentioned before: read your blogs more often.
There are others…brewing in the back of my mind. God is answering prayers and continues to be in charge of my life, so all isn’t revealed just yet.
In time…

So, today is not an ending at all. It’s a new step forward, knowing these daily entries helped me focus–even in the midst of tragic days, I persevered.

Here, a piece that speaks to me today, from Frederick Buechner:

“The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”
― from A Room Called Remember

So, yes– “not all the time, surely, but from time to time”– I’ll return to this familiar place and say what’s on my mind, maybe tell a story from the past, hopefully continue to record my deep gratitude for the small things.

Writers need audiences. Good ones. I found mine here. And while I’m still writing every day, I’m ready to spend time being an audience, too.

Glad I’m not saying goodbye…just See ya a few days a week.

I’ll end tonight with a few favorite words, once again from Frederick Buechner:

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”


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Power

Another good day.

I see more than ever the power of positivity. You believe, and I’ll join you. Then another. Pretty soon, all around us are hopeful.

It’s easier to get better, do better, in an atmosphere of laughter and good vibes.
Talk of the future. Make some plans.
It changes our outlook for just a moment. Then “the gods” AKA “the real deal God and His heavenly host of angels” conspire to make things happen.

Does it work that way?

We’ll find out for sure one day. Until then, I know this:

Far fewer things are coincidences than we might think.
A lunch date? Sure, typical.
But that lunch conversation opens the door to a possibility.
Key people show up.
A conversation takes place.
Wheels move.
Random day, right?
The phone rings. You hear from a friend from years ago. Nice, but nothing more. Are you sure?
Do you really think everything just plays out with no bigger plan?

I’ve come to realize sometimes we may be players in a game we know nothing about. Maybe we are helping someone at the right time, the right place.
There’s a higher power at work around us. Through us.
Tonight I’m glad for the power of friendship, prodding, and listening ears.
The power of high expectations.
The power of hope.


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Sunday’s Song: Reprieve

We all have those moments…times when we are aware that everything is clicking along quite nicely, thank you very much.
We have that at my house right now.
How can that be with a cancer diagnosis? I don’t know.
All I know is Sam can eat and does. He feels like playing cards with us. He made it to church this morning.
He laughs with friends on the phone.
Will this last?
Well, does anything last?
We are always changing.
Pages turn.
Leaves fall.
A lot of good changes have happened here, though. Things I didn’t expect to change. Things I thought were the new normal.
I was wrong.
There is no medical machine here right now. No whirr whirr whirr reminding us that things are different.
I didn’t expect that to change. But it did.
So. Let’s have more of that.

Let’s remember that day by day, moment by moment, we are making some kind of progress.

It’s true good days don’t last forever. We know that.
But, those good days can strengthen us.
It sure is nice to have them.


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Saturday’s Snapshot: “Okry” and ‘Maters

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You know it starts with bacon drippings, so it’s good.
Fry about 6 pieces of bacon and just leave enough drippings to coat pan.
Add in a sliced onion.
Shake a lot of kosher salt and large ground pepper on that. Stir until brown.
Add three big tomatoes, chopped, then about two cups of sliced okra. Bring to boil. Add a cup of water and cover. Simmer 12 minutes, stirring now and then.
My goodness. Delicious. Summer time food. Lovely.


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Friday’s Five

It’s a week for new yarn: a boxful in the mail from my sister (that was a perfect welcome home gift–a box of TLC), bags full from Tuesday Morning and Michael’s (well, there was a sale…and coupons) and yes…etsy order has shipped. Two scarves made, several planned.

It’s a week for old love: a poster sized blow up of my wedding day: there’s my mom and me…and Bernard, my cousin “in-law” who gave me away that day, but never stayed away for long. He calls me LL and cusses like I do, and held his real daughter’s hand–and head–during her chemo. He misses her. But he still emails me, calls me, sends me German bar music and memory photos. Because he knows this walk. He knows what I need. I love him.

It’s a week for poetry: my friend Doris copied a poem in her beautiful handwriting and mailed it to
me this week. I saw this poem and thought of you. It’s uncanny the feeling that gave me–a reminder that the time we take matters. I’ll always keep that poem: The Rainwalkersby Denise Levertov. Have you ever written a poem for someone–copied someone else’s and mailed it? I highly recommend it. Trust me.

It’s a week for happy texts and miracles: a friend, Holly, received a No Evidence of Disease message from her oncologist today; this after 2 1/2 years of fighting Stage 4 colon cancer and being told Get your affairs in order. She gets to keep being a mommy to her three little kids. We all get to feel her joy and know there’s always hope. Her husband sent that text to dozens (more likely, hundreds) of us. Collective prayers of thanksgiving today.

It’s a week for living: hearing one another’s laughter, smelling the cookies baking, watching Andy Griffith and Pawn Stars, sharing pizzas a couple days in a row–because we can–, and holding on…to hands and hearts and love.

Blessings, dear readers. That’s what we have every day. Fridays I just try to settle on five.
Your five are every bit as beautiful. Don’t forget them.