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

The kid in Target tonight who was having a happy holiday conversation with himself as he decided on gift wrap: Hmmm…this looks festive. And this!

Last minute gift choice wavering and the deciding moment when my daughter reminds me, It’s Christmas!

Candy deliveries around town: hugs, laughter, calorie sharing…

Peppermint striped paper clips. There’s a lot of happiness for $1.99.

Yet another holiday CD purchase. Some traditions are so worth continuing.

Find the joy, sweet readers. It’s all around us…


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Sunday’s Song: Epiphany

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Well, here we are at the end of another Christmas season.

This nativity is one I always enjoy looking at; my mom used to take me to look at it, and this morning my daughter and I stopped by for a few minutes after mass.

We laughed, though, because a man in front of us was stuffing a plastic bag full with hay from the manger.

I knew this man from my childhood days. His mother was a lifelong friend of my aunt’s. He had been a priest once, long ago.

He turned to us and said,
Do you know the old Irish custom of taking hay from a blessed manger in a church?

No, I did not, but took the piece he offered me.

I’m getting plenty because I have friends who want some too. If you put this in your purse or pocket, you’ll have more money than you know what to do with in the coming year.

This little moment in the new year is the kind of story I want to remember. That’s why I share it here.

And, a surprise question called out in church today from a man in the back…I want to remember that too.

Father, are we supposed to bring gifts to Jesus in the manger?

The congregation was silent.

Father said, Yes. We bring Jesus the gift of ourselves. Thank you for being here.

I had several epiphanies today; you might agree.

And, I’m enjoying the last night of lights on the tree and baby Jesus in his manger before I carefully pack away everything for a few months. But I’ll keep the piece of straw and the reminder to be a gift.

Happy Feast of the Epiphany.


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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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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.