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: 11/13/2020

Good evening, and here’s to World Kindness Day! 🌟

I trust social media to keep me updated on all these different days, but this one I can get behind.

Kindness is an equal partner with gratefulness, so tonight I’ll list five kindnesses that were bestowed upon me in the past week:

~~hand knit socks (2pair!) arrived via the USPS along with other goodies from my sweet sister. 🧦 🧦 🧶 Y’all…nothing like wool socks made by a loved one.

The owner of a locally owned business where I buy plants these days gave me a bonus white (glorious) African violet…because I can see you love them. 🌱 🌸

My “bonus baby” Mirren wrote me a letter and in it she drew some beautiful images and wrote poetry just for me. I’ll frame it soon. (Her mom is ultra cool and sent along a special perfectly timed gift, so I know where Mirren gets her talent and generous nature). ❤️ 📬

A couple of people went out of their way to help me with some business matters this week, and made the process a lot easier. Some folks are just nice. I’m glad. They balance out the rude folks we sometimes encounter. 🌟

Men holding doors for women. There was a lot of that, for me and for others. Grateful to experience sweet efforts that show that we remember others are worthy of small gestures. 🚪

It was a busy week, but sprinkled with respites of kindness. These uplifts keep us going…and hopefully inspire us to return the favor for others.

I hope you received kindness today. And I hope you return it. In case you didn’t:

💐 for you. ❤️

PS

Please wear a mask, dear readers. It’s an easy way to show yourself some love and to help us all get to a better day where we can show love in other ways.

Xo


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Friday’s Five 11/6/2020

Hello, dear readers. The calendar flipped to November since the last time I wrote. It is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s a respite time, a time to catch our breath before the flurry of the holidays. A show of color on the trees. A time for reflection. The earth getting ready for a wintery sleep.

We are now in time change land, and usually the return to Standard Time makes me feel re-set, but like many things this year, something still feels off. Maybe that’s why at 8pm I was ready for bed and slept hard for several hours. Yes, I realize it’s not really Friday, but it’s still dark outside and most of the world around my tiny universe is still in dreamland, so I’ll push this post through “as if” it isn’t actually Saturday. ☺️

Saturdays. They make my top five this week.

Generally, I get to Skype with my daughter and talk with my sister on Saturdays, so it’s an easy pick. Their presence in my world, even from far far away, always blesses me.

Journals.

I have filled several this year, and I am centered by the process and discipline of writing every day. After this post, the next thing on my list is writing my pages with cup of coffee in hand. Likely several cups. Ha. A lot gets settled and sorted through that writing time, and I am grateful.

Small talk.

I mean the words from my grandchildren. 🥰 I’ll see them today, and they will fill me up with their commentary on the world. Their turns of phrases. Their I love you moments and their running dialogue with each other and their toys and the world. I’ll listen and engage and be reminded of what it means to be aware of the power in the moments.

Democracy.

It’s a big one on my list this week, this year, this lifetime. Regardless of whether folks agree or disagree with my choice of candidates or political party preference, as an American I enjoy freedom to vote — and a system is in place that makes sure my vote and every vote is counted.

I am grateful for those who are on the front lines working to defend that process. I am grateful for the people, like me, who stood in long lines to early vote. I had special conversations with strangers in those lines. It was obvious we were not all voting the same way, but we treated each other the way I envision America at her best. So I know it is possible. I won’t be discouraged when I have seen civility and decency with my own eyes.

I am grateful for the people who voted by mail. For the ones who walked a long way to mail a ballot. For others who drove folks to and from polling places or post offices. For new voters who figured it out and decided they would keep learning to be better voters every future time. For the ballot. I am grateful for choice.

Several of my students registered to vote (and showed up to vote) this season. I bow to them here. Sometimes when we think our voice doesn’t matter, we discover that there is power in the process.

Tomorrow.

I’m grateful for the thought of it. I am always aware I may not see it, but I look forward to the sun waking me up each day, the slant of light that appears through the bedroom window. Slow wakings without alarms. Possibilities. The season that brings us Thanksgiving, the preparations (in progress of course) for Christmas.

After all, we build better tomorrows by what we do today. So, what will you do today? This week? This season? Will you build a bridge toward understanding and love? Smile beneath the mask I hope you are wearing in public? Look for the light in every human being? Make a move to improve one little thing? I hope so.

Have a good week. Improve your corner of the world. Know you are part of its power. 🌟


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Friday’s Five 10.09.20

A few days ago, I asked students in my College Life Skills class to write non- repeating words in their planners for the month of October. The words? Things they are grateful for—something new each day. It took a few days for them to start looking small, but today we arrived. Will you join us?

“jokes”

“rain”

“pens and pencils”

“the way my pop cooks steak”

“pepper”

I’m a proud teacher. These young men and women are trying, even though they are not convinced about the power of gratitude. We will get there. 🌟

My list tonight…my five things culled from this week’s long list:

Fridays.

Windows.

Texts from my children.

Holiday emojis.

Butter.

Think small…the moments are right in front of us. ❤️


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Friday’s 5: August 21, 2020

Today I’m doing a quick flip back…a look through my journal from the past week. Let my eyes land on five random moments and let them live happily here. Memories of goodness from the previous week.

Oddly, I am writing this entry super early in the day. Not so oddly, my schedule is always a bit off in August. I started teaching part time this week. The back to work time generally spins routines around a bit.

This week, it was a literal spin with the unwelcome visitor Vertigo showing up. We all say of course by now. Another #2020 eye roll. Thankfully, I have a set of exercises for that, so it passed quickly and I made it through the day with no problems. Count every good as a win, my friends. And, when we feel good, let’s remember to be grateful, too. Noted. I am planning to do quite a few little things today…things that I couldn’t do if the room was spinning. So, I am grateful.✅

I sat outside a lot this summer, and I hope to continue that practice for as long as I can. Waiting quietly in nature solves a lot of problems and opens our eyes to new possibilities. Sometimes I write outside, or knit, or make art. Mostly, I sit and watch. Time well spent. ✅

The pumpkin seeds I planted last month have taken off, and I learned their lesson: they open their beautiful blooms early in the day. If you wait too long, they are still pretty, but different. I guess I never realized all the adjustments nature makes minute by minute. ✅

My niece left a mailbox surprise this week: zinnia seeds for a future day! So kind…and as I look out toward my happy flower patch this season, I think I will cut a bouquet to celebrate that on this Friday, there is still plenty of beauty around…both in the thoughtfulness of others and in the joy to come. ✅

Finally, I started a new part time job this week. I am a teacher in the adult education program in my town, and I help students work toward their ESL or HSE certificates. As always, meeting my students and learning about them has started this season off well. They showed up in masks, but the masks did not conceal their determination and grit. They have goals. They are ready to work. I am ready to help them. ✅

Have a terrific weekend, dear readers. Find a moment or more to get outside and find the healing in nature. Surprise someone. Pick a flower. Plant a seed. Help someone learn. Live in grateful wonder. ❤️

Xoxo


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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: May 29, 2020

Now folks, my heart is heavy over the brutal murder of George Floyd. I invite you to join me as you read here to stop, pause, think of him as the whole man he was. Honor his life. His memory.

Please join me tonight in prayer for five people you know. If you can, make those five be African Americans. Maybe they are your friends, family, colleagues, folks you know from a distance. Maybe they are total strangers.

Picture them. Pray for them. Wish them courage, strength, resolve, and protection. Wish them help in needs that maybe we cannot fathom because we cannot understand their walk unless we have lived it.

Tomorrow? Repeat.

At some point, you will discover what you can do. It may seem to be the smallest thing. If it is a good thing, do it.

Repeat.

It is not enough. But friends, it will never be enough. Start where you are. Adopt a fellow human. Do not give up on the goodness that does exist in this world.

Curse the bad, be enraged, shed those tears. Then get up and decide to support the people who need us.

https://images.app.https://images.app.goo.gl/XFUYSENQ6s1mHqpT6goo.gl/XFUYSENQ6s1mHqpT6

(Image from newyorktimes.com)


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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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Lent 2019–Day 3–3/8/2019 plus Friday’s Five

It’s the International Day of Women. I am glad there is another marker of this day that I can look to because it is also the anniversary of my husband’s death.

And even though the days pass (Google informs me it’s been 1826/these five years), there is still not a day that passes that Sam isn’t on my mind. The days are easier though. For any mourner who reads these words, the days do get easier.

I am still writing about the process of grief, of loss, of all the things that are connected to it.

But today I am also looking out with a firmer resolve to take care of the days I might still see.

So, in honor of women today, my Friday’s Five asks you to do this small thing:

Think of five females who have made your life better. Call them, text them, write to them. Let them know.

And as we journey on in this weird and wacky world, may we make it easier in some way for someone. Today.

Peace. ❤️