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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Sunday‚Äôs Song: Sadness/ Starting Lent, 2018

Lent this year is already so different than last year. In the back of my mind, I thought I might return to this blog and record some little thoughts, a few reflections…but then Parkland happened.

My mind keeps returning to the thought of the students and teachers at that high school in Florida. The stories they won’t get to tell. The deep scars their loved ones will carry forever. How some of us get to live and tell lots of things. And why that is I do not know.

To know these lives were taken on Ash Wednesday reinforces my belief that there is a level of evil in this world that some refuse to see. We are in spiritual warfare.

I think about the victims and survivors and I wonder what they thought about at the beginning of February 14, 2018. Valentine’s Day. Maybe someone was going to get surprise flowers. A handmade card. Some chocolate. Maybe a dinner was planned, or perhaps an Ash Wednesday service was on the agenda. Maybe someone had started making some plans to have a holier Lent. You know, give up a favorite food. Try to stop cursing so much. Be nice to somebody that irritates you. Pray more.

Then, in a few mind numbing violent and horrific seconds, every plan disintegrated.

My little Lenten lists and plans pale in comparison to the walk of the Parkland survivors. I do not have words of comfort or wisdom for you, dear readers.

I do not want to forget. I do not want to be complacent. I do not want to be politically correct. I do not want children being killed by children. I do not want gun owners to tell me about their rights. I do not want non- gun owners to tell me we have to ban all guns. I do not want to hear Republican vs Democrat.

I want people to look up from their phones. I want people to speak to one another in civil tones. I want people to make eye contact. I want people to receive mental health care when they need it. Quality care. I want gun-buyers to have background checks. I want gun-owners to be responsible and teach their children how to use firearms safely.

I want people to admit we have a problem.

I want people who have differing opinions to respect one another. I want people who are silent to speak. I want teachers to be safe in their classrooms. And children. I want people to stop thinking it’s normal to see police on school campuses or to want that. I want people who died to not be dead. I want too much.

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Friday‚Äôs Five: December‚Äôs Gifts

…tiny gummed stars … they say old ways, old days, old sweet touches to tags and envelopes…

…sequins…I have not sewn a sequin onto anything in years, but I’m feeling that may change in the coming year. Felt and threads and little beads and sparkling sequins on something special…

…a mom and daughter were in a flea market today and they had chosen a beautiful yo-yo quilt. It was obvious they loved hand sewn things, too…little circles of fabric gathered and stitched together…a gift to be passed down through the years…

…background music…we have our own designated playlists this month…what carols and contemporary songs are “must listen-tos” for you?…

…pine and cedar and red berries and Christmas cactus and red bows on wreaths and lights on everything…

I am losing track of days…days that come and go so quickly…does any month go faster than this one? December.


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Friday’s Five

Sara is home for the holidays. It’s been a year since I’ve seen her…too long.

She’s asleep, catching up on hours lost from international travel. We draped blue lights on one wall of our hotel room and it is like having her dad here with us. Blue ones were his favorite.

My heart is full of thankfulness for ticketing agencies, pilots, clear skies, safe travel. Loved ones home. Presence, people. ‚̧ԳŹ Merry Christmas.


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Friday’s Five: December

Today I left the house wearing a Santa hat. Last minute decision, but it is December and it was a bone chilling 27 degrees.

I think it changed my interactions with people because after all… red velvet with huge white pompom is a distraction.

I was able to continue a gift giving tradition Sam started years ago. Today wasn’t the day I planned to do it, but the opportunity came and I was quite happy knowing this took place with me wearing Santa gear. People were inconvenienced for a moment because this impromptu event took place on a country road and cars were delayed momentarily, but not one person honked. And the recipient…delighted. Hat, perhaps??

Onward to a rosary group. Lots of prayers said for lots of people with women who are deeply different but connected in prayer. While there, cardinals kept coming to the feeder. Brilliant reds.

Then, a low tire pressure stop at a garage. The attendant wished me Merry Christmas as I left…I am positive it was the hat. Positive. Makes people feel happier. Joyful. Merry. Isn’t that a great word?

The lights of the season are everywhere. Store windows, interstate tree groupings, hotel reception areas. So welcoming.

The little things that invite us to be better versions of ourselves. December, you delight.


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Friday’s Five

4:30am. Still dark out. Wide awake after five hours of good sleep. Sometimes we need more, sometimes less. Happy to awaken early on this Black Friday. Lots to do. On the list:

Put all the random buttons I find today in a glass jar I saved. When will I use said buttons? Maybe this will be the year. All sorts of random things reside here with me: bits of paper, keys to long abandoned locks…maybe they will find their rightful places today.

Take a 30-gallon trash bag to the end of the driveway and fill it up with all the litter people insist on discarding: ice bags, beer cans, cigarette packaging, plastic bottles…

…there is a danger for that to sour my spirit, so while I’m out there, I will hang wreaths at the edge of the drive. Collect nandinas and holly. Cut pine and cedar and arrange a bucket or two of fresh cuttings to welcome this most beautiful time of year. Do you hear it? The whisper of Christmas coming. The preparation that involves no shopping today.

Of course I am a consumer. Too much so, in fact. But not today. Today I hope to exist in silence and solitude. My lists are in progress. I will likely add to them throughout the day. Little things.

The woodstove needs cleaning. A fire burned bright the last couple of evenings, but Texas being what it is, we might hit 80 next week. So, time to clean and stack and lay kindling for the future. Notice the oak and pecan. Discern the colors as I place each piece. Feel the weight of it. The beauty waiting to explode with the scratch of a match sometime down the road.

The dogs will want to play. And eat extra treats. They will be happy I am not leaving on any errands today. They always hear when I open any door. They never fail to greet me.

Somewhere there is a container of ornaments I have lost. Maybe today will be the day I find them. And as I search, I will pay attention to the many things I have too many of, and I will share. I will line up little cardboard boxes and begin.

I look at the calendar and see that in three short weeks, I’ll get to greet my daughter home for the holidays. The thought of that moment motivates me today. The getting ready. The paying attention to little details. The creating of a space so that when she arrives she feels it, too–the “it” that costs nothing, involves no shopping, the “it” that we do to welcome that feeling that has no price.


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In Lieu of Friday’s Five–Random Strangers Sharing their Lives in the Checkout Line Today

Today there was a man a couple of customers ahead of me in line at a local store. He was placing a cartload of hangers– 70 or 80 plastic aqua ones– on the conveyer belt. A stranger behind him made a comment I couldn’t hear, but he answered Yeah, my wife wants to change out  all the hangers. Here I am. The things we do for love. 

I can imagine his wife standing in front of her closet, waiting for him to come back home. Banishing those plain white hangers. Lining every garment up just so. Are  the clothes laid out on the bed? Has she counted to make sure she has the right amount? Why aqua? Why today?

I cannot imagine why he is the one sent to get them. Maybe she was at a critical point in the purging process. Maybe they argued. Maybe this was a set-things-right trip. Maybe he’s a good guy and offered. Maybe he was out and she called and said Bring me 80 aqua hangers. Aqua. You know like blue or green but not. K. Love u. 

This was all he had in his cart. Hangers. And then he reached over and threw in a candy bar for good measure. He’ll eat that before he gets out of the parking lot. Secret reward. 

Are the hangers just for her clothes? Do they share a closet? Why aqua? Why now? Why am I writing about this? 

My turn comes. How are you? I ask the cashier. 

She answers, Well, I hate when people ask me that because they don’t really want to know.

Well, lay it on me, I tell her. 

My back hurts…I think I screwed it up nine years ago when I fell on some ice. 

 We get interrupted for a second. She calls another clerk over to help her colleague in the next aisle. 

Can you believe this? He is leaving here to go in the Marines in two weeks, but he can’t ring up wine and beer. He’s only 19. I sure would buy him a beer if he wanted one. My son was in the Army. He died in 2011.

Ma’am. I cannot imagine. 

Honey, I would not want you to.

She’s wiping away tears. Looks me in the eye. Shrugs. Rings my remaining items. 

Yeah, I fell down on some ice. Hurts worse when I sit down. Glad to be standing up. You have a good weekend now. 

Yes ma’am. You too. You, too.

Stories and strangers and seconds long conversations every shift. Every day. 

I keep thinking about those aqua hangers though. And now that image is connected with a kid I never knew who never came home. And he won’t be buying aqua hangers for any woman. And his mama will  tell a story about him that maybe she didn’t expect to tell. And now you’ll know it too. And I’ll wish I could have bought that man a beer. 

And on it goes. 


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Friday’s Five

It is four months until Christmas. Yes, I keep track. 

Kisses from an eleven month old who lavishes them on demand. 

A two year old’s outstretched hand…and little voice saying, C’mon Loulou.

Knit blanket almost ready to send to #welcomeblanket project for immigrants.

Netflix nights.

And, while I sit in a comfortable spot writing tonight, my prayers are with the folks across southeast Texas who are bracing for Hurricane Harvey. Latest tracking shows it’s a Category 4. Pray for Texas.