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: 10/23/2020

You know how one thing makes you think of another? That’s where my thought train has been traveling this week…

My youngest grandchild had eye surgery a few days ago, and all went well. I sent up prayers for her, of course. Those led to prayers for her parents, prayers for her siblings and their caretakers, prayers for her pediatric surgeon, prayers of thanksgiving that we have good hospitals not too far away, that someone built those hospitals, that someone made a decision to study medicine, that someone encouraged a student in medical school, that all the stars aligned and all worked out for this precious 13 month old.

Of course I am skipping some steps, but you get the idea.

Then, the thank you prayers that followed…and how easily those came to my lips in the space I stood. Not in a church, but on a path where this child and I have spent time and hopefully will again soon. Prayers lifted in conversation and the inner wisdom of knowing they were heard.

For every big thing we are grateful for, there are always connectors.

Think of one thing you are grateful for tonight. List four or five things that had to happen to make it so. Plenty of reasons for gratitude and wonder and awe if we take a moment to see.

The gift of sight…inner and outer and all the shades in between. 🌟


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Friday’s Five: 10/16/2020

Poetry in a grandchild’s handwriting.

Really, that may count as all 5 tonight.

Her desire…

…to record meaning independently

…to insist I decipher her meaning

…to add a heart which gave me the ending

…to so easily give away the gift she created

… to know this was one of the moments that I’ll always remember

My interpretation?

I wrote

a beautiful

poem today

and ended it

with a heart

❤️


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Friday’s 5: August 28, 2020

Five moments of gratitude from this week:

Hurricane Laura did not cause the problems that were predicted in my town. A huge sigh of relief. In the days preceding her arrival, I prepared in ways I never have before. I took stock of things, considered things, thought I might be waking to or watching century old trees bend and maybe fall. But it did not come to pass.

I learned some important truths from those preparation hours. I hope I carry them with me for a long time.

My youngest granddaughter turned one this week. It was a flash of a fast year, and she has made me look closer at everything. She continually breaks into a smile, and I know that deep within her soul must reside some hidden truth. Everyone who spends time with her comments on this special calmness she exudes. I know she will continue to teach us.

Another part time teaching job started this week, and it was a much different start than any previous year, but it was a start with face to face people and no virtual teaching (for the moment), and I am grateful for the time we have to meet and talk and learn in a real space in real time. Sure, it is stressful. Yes, there are complicated scenarios playing out daily. Still, as I entered that college classroom, I felt like I could be real and honest and that my students could, too. We are doing our best.

As much as virtual teaching worlds aren’t my fave, I certainly am grateful for what the virtual world offers me in communication time with my loved ones. Skype sessions with my daughter and my grandchildren gave me cherished times this week. Moments of connection and realization that the word temporary is one I repeat often.

Until face to face time is possible for us, this is a lifeline of love that I am continually grateful to have.

I picked some marigolds before the storm, and as I did I thought oh I’ll be sad to see these blown away. But, no blowing away occurred, so last night before bed, I placed the little juice glass bouquet on the altar in my home, and I felt a moment of mutual understanding between me and the universe. I recognized the miracle of seeds in a pack sent from a friend to my hand. Careful planting and watching with children who cannot be with me at the moment, but were part of the nurturing. A summer of good sun and good rain and growth. Buds, blooms, beauty. A picking and appreciating and then offering to the Unseen who let this storm pass us by.

I’m asking you to join me in prayers of gratitude this week for the smallest things. The things in front of us that we see and the things just out of our sight that maybe we are spared. Likely, this happens more often than we imagine.

I believe a sincere thank you is one of the most beautiful forms of prayer.

This week, I prayed those words a lot. I hope you did, too.


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Friday’s 5-August 14, 2020

Here we are, dear readers. We are on the threshold of fall, and even though I write these words on a hot summer evening, the weather guy promises fall like temps for next week.

Looking forward…

Oh, I am aware we are supposed to live in the moment we are in. I got the memo.

But isn’t it nice to dream? To imagine the autumn breeze ripple through the trees and make us consider a sweater on a morning or evening walk?

Let us be happy in the possibilities today…maybe even let that be a goal for the week ahead. To look forward in hope.

I like the verse from scripture that says I lift my eyes unto the hills from where my help comes. To me, that verse is hope filled. We look up and wait for the good that’s coming. It’s in the hills or around the corner or somewhere just barely out of sight.

It’s actually the 121st Psalm and I had to look it up because 1) I always forget the number and 2) obviously I’m missing a few words in my revision above.

But, here it is: will you read it aloud with me? It’s like a poem, and I believe there is power in the spoken word:

Psalm121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Beautiful words.

As a lot of us continue to or prepare to go out into this strange world, let us go armed with faith and hope. And of course, love.

This week, I had at least five unexpected good things come my way. A friend texted me to see if I had time to talk. She couldn’t have known, but at that exact moment, I was really wanting to talk with a friend. Another friend brought a beautiful bouquet of surprise sunflowers to my door on her way to work. That took some effort and was out of her way. It meant a lot. Another friend and I had our frequent art/cooking/politics/poetry talks that go on for hours. My two oldest grands sent me funny emojis at the same moment I was sending some to them. Two vendors at the farmers’ market filled my bags with way more produce than I purchased.

Little things…a common thread: people.

The power we have to bring hope to others.

I bet you had some good things happen, too.

I’d love to hear them. I hope you’ll look for five more this week. Good things are coming all of the time. Lift your eyes. Look.

Take good care, dear readers. I believe in prayer, but I also believe in masks and science. And kindness.

xoxo


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Friday’s Five:August 7, 2020

I almost titled this entry “Friday’s Five and so is Sofia” but decided I would just write it here in the first paragraph. ❤️

My sweet granddaughter makes the top of my list tonight because her life has brought and continues to bring a lot of joy. Children do that, as a rule. We can learn so much from them. Think of yourself on an age 5 birthday. Can you? I really cannot, but I know people were loving me and I was living a great life.

I bet all of us were enriching other people’s lives at age five. Interesting to think about, really.

I wonder what she will remember from today and what will be forgotten.

These days, many of us might like to forget a lot of what is happening. We are waiting for a better day…a day when things seem not quite so hard, not so complicated.

Yet, while we wait, someone puts candles on a cake. Someone sings a song. Somebody says I love you. Someone unwraps a gift. Someone says thank you. So much goodness.

This week, a former colleague wrote to tell me her child still cherishes a simple blanket I made for him years ago. She said some nice words. They warmed my heart.

Then a day later, she sent this picture.

I had forgotten that I had made this little card for her. The back of the card showed 2009. I thought of how much my life had changed since that year. I remembered then I had made little magnetic cards for all the teacher interns that year as a parting gift.

This card meant something to this person, though. She wrote that she keeps it out in her classroom, then carefully files it for safekeeping until the summer is over. She’s been cleaning and preparing her room and sent me the reminder of more than just the card.

All this to say: we do things today that seem like nothing…and find out later, they were something to somebody.

Sofia doesn’t know today how much her smile lifts my heart. How her I love you, Loulou uplifts me. How she stays with me even when we are not together, like during these crazy covid days.

So, keep doing the good things. They come back to us in ways we never expect. Walk on and remember that your gifts do matter, no matter how small. Words on a card, people. And if someone has helped you or lifted you or encouraged you, for God’s sake, tell them. We really do not have time to waste thinking people know anything. Your words could be the lifeline they need.

Do five good things. This is my challenge to you this coming week. Bonus points if they involve telling people their lives have touched yours in a precious way.

Be safe. Honor your life and your gifts. Make your days worth remembering. 🌟


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Friday’s Five: Bye, July 7/31/2020

Hey July 31…this was a fast month, especially when I consider I have not been anywhere of consequence 😂…

Still, the days do pass whether we fill them with good or not, so let’s try to find some good, shall we? But safe good. Masked good. Socially distanced good. Please and thank you.

It’s still possible, dear readers. And necessary.

This afternoon, I spent the better part of an hour watching hummingbirds. They dip and dart a lot, but they rest a lot more than I believed they did…hmmm. Lots of lessons in nature.

Earlier this week, I watched (via video) my youngest grandchild clapping her hands to sweet encouragement from her daddy. I’m not sure which brought me more delight: her new skill, his voice, or her moving toward him at the end of the clip.

Unexpected and joy filled texts came this week: one contained a poem from Tupac Shakur…maybe you know it:

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

https://allpoetry.com/The-Rose-That-Grew-From-Concrete

I don’t know…I read lots of poems and post them on social media…but to receive one from a student out of the blue because of something I said or did…well, it makes the cut this week of five fab things. 🌹

My little backyard raised bed garden has recovered from an evil hornworm that stripped my tomatoes down to stalks. A few minutes of reconnaissance and removal of said critters, and leaves returned, blooms are back, rains came to help out. I may see a few fall tomatoes. Never give up…good things have a way of coming back around.

The marigolds and zinnias never suffered. They likely kept me out there, looking when all seemed lost.

Oh, I’ll end with this one: my daughter finally received a care package I mailed four months ago. Covid seems to have its grip on every little thing…but something jarred loose somewhere along the way, and that delivery gave me hope for future ones.

So, let us keep hoping and living and reading good things and reveling in nature and welcoming all the surprises that are coming.

It’s already August as I press publish. May it bring many more good things to us all…


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Friday’s Five—June 12, 2020

This day has felt like a Saturday. That’s good. My mind has been thinking of beautiful things to share here tonight, and as always, they come:

I did not expect to bring out the finger-paints with 9 month old Clara, but that happened. We both giggled and made faces and held a moment of light between us. Secret spaces where so much happens in just seconds…to really capture it in words might take a lifetime. Here is our collaboration:

Art by Clara, age 9 months.
(a collaboration with Loulou)

My little tomato garden is growing. Sofia and Emma happily tend to it on the days they are here. This week, though, brought us a

new something to watch in awe and delight:

Baby Cardinals in progress
June 2020 ❤️

Worlds of conversation and questions and explanations and excitement ensued.

Long walks were the norm this week. Welcome. And, one day, a 60 degree morning in June. In Texas. Respites. Reasons to believe things will improve. Noticing. All the things that I have been too busy to see, I see.

My son mowed a path in the woods this week so that I can get to those gorgeous cape jasmine I mentioned in my last post. I smell them from my walk, yards away. Glorious.

Extra pages in my journal this week. More writing time. More things that work themselves out within the lines of notebooks. The awareness that when we decide to do something, the world makes room.

I think I’m past five now, but I must include this dragonfly. She has become my new friend of late.

I stand amazed as she waits for me to get a shot. I thank her. She flits and flies and returns. Again and again. Day after day. I am certain she wants me to try again tomorrow. To keep trying. She is a patient teacher.

Dragonfly who deserves a name
June 2020

I understand more about Mary Oliver and so many other poets who walked deeper into a world that others barely see.

It is amazing what we see when we look.

I hope you will look this week. Look for the spaces that offer you respite. Sink into them in silence and let them take you to a world you will name when you find the words. It may take a lifetime. That’s ok.

A short afterthought and request~~~

Be well, dear readers. And if you will, lift up a man named Seth. Just one “please heal him” will do. He is the husband of a lifelong friend, and he is facing a medical battle. I believe in the power of intention. He needs us. Thank you. 🌟


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Friday’s Five —April 24, 2020

Five very good things from these past few days—

because if I have learned anything in my years here in this realm, it is this: there are beautiful gifts in front of us every day, but we must take a breath and slow down and pay attention.

1–my dear friend Kim enlisted her hubby to help, and they came to my house and created a raised bed garden for me. It has already been a daily delight for the grands and for me…such kindness and generosity. 🌱The bigger gift was paying attention when I mentioned I’d love to make one someday. How rare and sweet to be given an answer to a wish. 🌟 ( Listen to your people. Make a wish come true when you can. ❤️)

2-good music on the radio. As I write this post, NPR is playing a classical music segment. It’s calming. But this week I heard my fave song (Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd) in its entirety as I was driving—windows down, volume up. You know exactly what I mean, I hope. 🙌🏼 🎶 (Know the power of music to elevate your mood. Listen.)

3-cocktail hour with my sis. I kidded with her this week that we did long distance “virtual” cocktail hours before pandemic time made them cool. We are going on six plus years now—once a week and sometimes more—we settle in to create/chat/vent/sip, and I am always happy to hear her sweet voice. 🍷📱🍷 (Make extra “special”time for your loved ones.)

4-children’s laughter. Emma and Sofia are imaginative and happy and their voices reflect that, no matter what we are in the midst of…and this week, when I saw baby Clara, she smiled her slow sweet smile of recognition and then pushed her arms and legs out in what I translate as recognition of the love we already share. She “answers” with her own language and I answer with mine, knowing she already understands far more than people might think. 👶🏼 🥰 (Always talk with children at a higher level than you think they understand.)

5-poetry. It is National Poetry Month, and I’ve made a point to post a poem a day on social media. Usually, I create a project of some sort…this year, it’s a postcard project, which serves multiple purposes: it puts poetry into the world, lifts someone’s spirits, and supports our USPS. Will you join me in a grassroots effort to help our postal service? Will you send an extra piece of mail out once a week? (You have power to change things…use it well.) 🌟✅🧚🏻

Stay strong and well, dear readers. The world is in the midst of upheaval, but we carry on with our heads up and eyes open to the gifts around us. They are our strength. Remember. ❤️🌟🌟🌟


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Friday’s Five

Yes, I realize it is Saturday. 🙂

Somehow yesterday got away from me; even though my life has slowed down in so many ways, I did not manage to sit down and write this post. So, on a cool (for Texas) sunny afternoon I will share some grateful thoughts with you because late or not, I am dedicated to this practice of gratitude.

*cakes in mailboxes (My friend Paula recently delivered a warm lemon poppyseed cake as an afternoon surprise and belated birthday gift–delicious and maybe enjoyed even more, in some ways.) Proof of how we can lift people’s spirits in so many little ways.

*leftover cascarones (Well, just the shells)…multicolored evidence of the joy that transpired in my front driveway less than a week ago on a very different but still love- filled Easter Sunday…and a few hours of sunny time to celebrate between two thunderstorms. I still hear the laughter and squeals as two little girls chased their parents and me around, cracking the eggs and enjoying the time together.

* words from little ones on paper and in voice (Both older granddaughters are writing uppercase letters in their diaries, dictating notes to me, taking orders for food at their pretend drive thru/kitchen center.)Words on post its and scraps of paper fill the tables at my house. Lovely. The infant is not able to write yet, but she makes her needs known by crying if we pass by without interacting. She knows how to get our attention. She is learning from her sisters. “Up” requests Emma and “Come snuggle with me” says Sofia. I am happy to cooperate.

*seeds in cups (another thoughtful gift from Cindy)…one that continues to bring squeals of delight from all of us when we realize that tiny seeds do indeed sprout. Watching and tending to a plant is a valuable use of time.

*handknit socks (my sister Mary says I am one of the few she will knit for…well, lucky me.) If you are ever spoiled by hand knit socks, nothing else will seem to keep your feet quite as warm. Maybe that has something to do with the love used to make them. 🙂

So, there is my roundup of 5 good things from last week. There were many more, but these get the spotlight today.

Take good care of yourselves in these COVID/pandemic days. What are we in, dear readers? I ask that multiple times per day. And then I start looking for the good things to soothe my spirit. I hope you are able to find the good, too.

Be well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Friday’s Five

Tonight I’m remembering another time in my past when I made a determined and conscious effort to keep blogging, to keep writing even though the world I was in seemed to be (and was) spinning out of control.

I’ve often looked back at that time and wondered why I felt that I had to write, what was it about that act that somehow centered me. I understand it is control. This is one tiny way of making order out of mess.

For me, this act of writing and documenting is also an act of defiance. It is the I will look for and find joy in the midst of out of kilter days. I have that power.

I celebrated a birthday a few days ago, and while some might think that this is a terrible time for a celebration, I disagree. I’m glad my family and friends disagreed, too, because they brightened my day in many special and memorable ways.

We really get to choose more than we realize. I choose to keep looking for the light.

Here, a few of those bright light moments…

“Snow glows” and woodpeppers” —Emma’s words for dandelions and woodpeckers as we wander outside for walks …

“I want to write in your journal” Sofia tells me and then takes letter dictation for the words she’s wanting to record—-I recognize this as the gift it is…

That little orchid I bought in Sara’s honor a couple of weeks ago is getting much love and attention from her nieces. Something to care for gives us direction.

Visiting cardinals…they have returned, and I am able to give them lots more attention now that I work from home these days. I moved part of my work area to the sunporch so the outside is never far from view.

Photographs…old and new and the treasure of reliving the moments.

“Snow glows” and wishes ❤️

Keep wishing and watching and reveling in the days you are given.

Stay safe, dear readers. Stay home if you can. 🌟