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

Re-establishing this weekly practice of listing…

Five good things from the past few days:

Watching my granddaughters delight in throwing rocks into our creek.

Bundling my grandmother’s heirloom roses onto silk scarves to see if I’ll get a print or dye.

Laughing as a child I tutor tries on my glasses.

Copying a poem a day into my little altered art book.

Opening the mailbox to find packages and letters from loved ones near and far.

Simple things that bring happiness. Truly, if we cannot be happy in our own self we cannot bring it to anyone else.

What makes you happy? I’d love to know…

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Sunday’s Song: Smiles and Sentimentality

This week brings me to another marking of time. March 8 will make four years since Sam left this world. Five years since knowing we were in a very bad place. Terrible, terrible times.

I look back sometimes and wonder how we made it. I would not wish what we experienced on anyone.

But if you just keep moving…

Today, our daughter Skyped with me from 5,000 miles away. She’s been ice skating on a frozen lake. She tells me of her adventures, the friends whose names I did not know five years ago. We laugh, we visit, and I am aware of the arrival of a new day. Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

I sit with our son at Mass. I visit his family  tonight. Laugh at the constant motion, constant buzz of his house, filled with family and laughter. Good food, good conversations. Laugh at the antics of two little girls we did not realize would be  coming to us.  Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

Never ever could I have predicted the days we lived five years ago. Never ever could I have predicted the happy circumstances my family lives today.

Smiles from living in the moment we are in. Sentimentality from remembering a good man who would be smiling at all of us.

Wherever you are,  whatever sadness might stun you, overwhelm you, paralyze you, breathe through it. One day, it will get better.

Maybe not in four years, or five. Maybe later. Maybe sooner. Just keep at it.

Walk —when you cannot take one more step, take just one more. Sooner or later, you will walk into sunlight. The ice will glisten like diamonds on a frozen lake and you’ll marvel at all the colors you see.

Wait—when you cannot wait one more second, a child might arrive. Or two. And they will bring laughter from a well that until then was unopened.

I have watched my children’s smiles return. I have seen real joy in their eyes.

This is a gift from walking and waiting.

So, smile when you can and remember what you must, but know that a lot of good is right down the road. Live to see it.


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Sunday’s Song:Week 2 Lent: Something

Second Sunday of Lent.

How are your plans working out? Did you decide you might do something new this season? Find a way to make Lent more meaningful? Add that extra prayer-time in your day? Volunteer to do some charitable work?

Sometimes our plans do not work out quite the way we anticipate, but in the “wanting to” we can find ways to mark this season of waiting.

At Ash Wednesday Mass, a little boy came into the church pulling on his mom’s hand, wailing and repeating I don’t wanna go to church. Several of us who saw him exchanged knowing looks. Smiles. He was wearing a shirt with the word EPIC in bold type, and I thought that word suited his reaction. I also thought

Look, Kid. You are not alone. It is not always easy being here, even when we know things you haven’t even had a chance to learn yet.

But here was a mom trying. And maybe that kid will remember– years down the road — someone made an effort to get to church. And he might drag someone in, too.

I had not planned to go to the Stations of the Cross this past Friday. No one pulled me in kicking and screaming though. I got there through a different avenue. My son was volunteering that night at the church (helping with a Lenten meal) and invited me to come eat.

I decided to go…and as I was leaving the dinner, my oldest granddaughter ran to me and begged me to take her to my house. Well, I’m not going home yet. I’m going to church.

I was not expecting those words to come from my mouth, hadn’t been to Stations of the Cross in years. Years.

I go, too. I go with you. Please.

It was a sweet moment, one that I know will not likely last. There will come a time that this ritual (and even grandma) won’t seem like a lot of fun. But last Friday night, I held my first grandchild and whispered to her as Father and the servers walked from station to station. She sang as we sang, not the words in the leaflet, but her own song.

We were not that holy of a picture. She, after a few minutes, was busily rearranging the hymnals. I had barely managed clean clothes after a day of babysitting my youngest grandchild. But there we were.

And that was something.

Something because we could look up to Jesus and say, Hey Man. We are here. We love you.

And after the short service, we got to say Hey again. We have already developed a ritual of lighting candles after Mass. We stop at the crucifix on the main altar. We nod. Ok. We wave. Hey Jesus. I love you.

She repeats.

Hey, Infant Jesus. Hey, St. Therese. Hey, Mother Mary.

We say our “God bless us all” prayer. Sofia holds the match and lights the candle.

And I say an extra prayer of thanks because this Lenten moment was not on my radar. It was unplanned, unscripted, un-everything.

It, so far, is my biggest Something of Lent.

Let Him lead you where you need to be. Be ready for something new to transform you.

He has something for you. You don’t have to do anything except be ready for it.


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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. 


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Friday’s Five

Five little things from the past few days that remind me I am a human on this earth:

babies’ laughter…

my daughter’s text from 5,000 miles away…

my son’s hugs…

a sacred medal mailed from a beautiful friend named (appropriately) Care…

a late night phone call from a friend decades younger in real years, but our soul years are sort of the same…

…our connections sustain us. They are the most beautiful and treasured gifts we have on this earth. Cherish your people. 


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Friday’s Five

Sitting and listening to the mother of a dear friend. Thinking to myself: one day I hope someone will sit and listen to me. We really forget that the gift of presence is a thing. People need us to listen. Just listen. 

My granddaughter Sofia sitting at my grandfather’s desk. If I had to list a prized possession, that desk would make the list. I called dibs on it when I was a child and it lived in my aunt’s long hallway. All the nooks and crannies, the fold down writing space. I can tell she gets it. She moved her bowl of goldfish crackers to the edge and sat so proudly. A moment of realization–that I never knew my grandfather, but he seemed alive tonight. 

A text from a dear friend. She went to an exhibit where two of my art pieces are hanging. Her text was a gift of affirmation and caring. I think I’ll frame it for the days when wondering sets in. 

A lunch with two former colleagues. Sometimes we find dear friends in work hallways. They see us through hardships and celebrations. Today was a celebration. 

A book on art from a lady I met at a retreat two years ago. She received a copy and already had one, so sent the newest one to me. Thoughtfulness. Can we ever have too much? 

Simple moments, honoring life and those who cross our paths. 


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Friday’s Five

A new red wagon, a prior generation tricycle, a hand-it-down/pass-it-on bouncy horse. All these things litter the landscape of my yard these days. Beautiful litter. 

A spider I named Lucy. Spiders are easier to name when they are outside on their own turf. She’s set up house on the edge of last year’s wood pile. I’m interested to see if she stays.

Little hands helping me fill all of the bird feeders. This is serious work, folks. And the reward of watching an almost two year old jump with joy at a filled feeder…well. 

A special acquisition today: an art acquaintance posted a picture of an easel her artist dad built by hand. He’s passed on and  she is downsizing, so the easel was for sale. I’m sure I’ll post a pic of it here one day. I’m very honored to give it a new home here under the outside art space I’ve created. 

Seeing an 8 month old’s eyes follow everywhere her daddy (my son) goes. Watching her little hands flail with joy at his nearness. Hearing her sister call Daddy and hearing in that single  word all of the love and safety and goodness she feels. 

So much good. So much more than good.