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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Holy Week 2019, Monday: Will You Walk “This Week” with Me?

(Me, before an evening class. Hope, Arkansas.)

At the beginning of this day, I had an idea. Then Notre Dame came falling down in flames, and really…well, fill in the blank…because if you’re alive on this planet, you surely know this structure is iconic. A terrible day to mark down in history, truly. And somehow, it seems to be worse that this happened as we begin Holy Week in the Christian world.

But, as I went about my day and continued to ponder what I want to do that is meaningful this week, my first idea still stands.

Let’s walk together. This Holy Week. Will you join me? Walk anywhere, post a picture if you’re so moved, or just join in anonymously. That’s good, too. 🙏🏼

Walk with me, knowing we know nothing. We know nothing about what is around the bend. We walk. We write a line about it. We live and learn. We listen.

We all saw that play out in flashing fire today.

But before I knew what I know now, what was beyond my immediate control, I walked.

I started early, and was greeted by not one, but four cardinals on the rocky road near my house. This sighting truly lifted my heart, and at that moment, I did not know that half a world away, Notre Dame was engulfed in flames.

I returned to the house, saw the news, and of course my heart fell.

“…but the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” kept ringing in my ears, and the voices of the Parisian people lifted in unison as their cathedral burned…their joining as one voice moved me to remember that the human spirit cannot be touched. We can always fly. Always.

Just like those morning birds…

Then, as I was leaving for work, my older dog was barking nonstop, warning me of an unexpected visitor. Huge snake. The symbolism is not lost on me.

Everywhere, some kind of turmoil. Daily.

So, lots was on my mind as I arrived at my next stop. More symbolism: Hope is where I work on Mondays. And tonight, I walked there, too.

I walked a short paved path that I always think I will, but never do. But today was different. I walked and prayed for Parisians, for firefighters, for travelers. For those who hoped to visit a beautiful place of worship, and for those who won’t get to see that dream come true…not in the way they hoped.

And I realized yet again, we are all here for only a minute, then we are gone. Nothing is sure except our spirits.

So, I’m walking into this week with no preconceived ideas. Just walking and listening to what might need to be said. Will you join me?

Let’s see where we might walk tomorrow…

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Friday’s Five –April 12, 2019

It wasn’t all good, dear readers. I don’t want to leave the impression here that everything is hunky-dory every day. 😜

Because you know…life. 😳

HOWEVER, I can generally find at a bare minimum five good things from the previous few days to share here. And, I did! Here they are:

people to encourage and pray for; someone needs your prayers;

red clover swaying on roadsides—I really must stop and get a picture ASAP;

drive-thru with a special sale price for what I actually planned to eat;

a hairdresser who knows without description what to do–even though said hairdresser sees hundreds of people—she still remembers;

Little hands placing little seeds in little cups and little voices saying I so ess-ited! Me too, loves. Me, too.

However your week went, it is likely there were bumpy places. Maybe they were really bad. I’m sorry if they were. Maybe they were just medium bad. Or slightly. But in every day and every circumstance, there is room for a genuine good.

Maybe it’s a hand clasped in yours. Maybe it’s a smile or nod when you really needed it. Maybe it’s a patch of clover on a roadside, or how the moon waits for you to look at it. Keep looking.

🌟


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Lent 2019–Day4–3/9/2019 A Matter of TIME

Sometimes it’s good to take a look at our days. Make a new grid. Design a new way of looking at them. Write in the non-negotiables. You know: eating/sleeping/Netflix ☺️.

See how much time we really have to do something new…or something we used to enjoy. See how much time we (dare I say it) waste.

Look at that new grid and live with it for a week or so. Decide where we can eliminate something for just an hour a day. Just 30 minutes. Then adjust. Again and again until we are living a more (fill in your own blank) life.

That’s where I am this first week of Lent. Deciding. Trying. And admitting it is not easy, so I must be on a good track for me.

No one should dictate our free time activities, but now and then it might help to see if what we choose is benefiting us or holding us back.

Today’s “new found” time is leading me into a scary art studio space. You think I’m joking. I am not. I may have to pray for time to stand still in there for a little while. I expect to learn and re-learn some lessons about order in there.

Good luck on whatever your time is telling you to do. 🌟🌟


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Sunday’s Song: Springtimes and Sunsets and Startovers

Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Yeah, that Lenten art book I bought with such good intentions? Unread.

The Scripture study I started a couple of Saturdays ago? Haven’t made it back.

Thinking a lot about seasons and cycles and how some things never change.

Decided to start reading through some old journals to help with a project I am working on.

Realized there in black and white that my themes stay constant.

Same ole songs, day in and out.

Was almost discouraged by that. The same things I hope to get better at or stop doing or start doing are there from months, even years ago. Sigh.

Decided to sit and sew for a little while. Let the silence still my mind.

Allowed the mindful repetition of threads turning into rows of pattern remind me that row after row, line after line, a story still takes shape.

Sometimes there are starts and stops and sidesteps. Sometimes there are repetitions.

Maybe there is a break in pattern and something interesting is sewn in. A contrast. Different color. Unique stitch.

Sometimes a mistake creeps in.

But like spring cycles back with its same ole flowers and crickets and fireflies, we still welcome it. We don’t expect something new from it…not really. We just want spring to be spring.

And those sunsets that mark the end of each day…sometimes they seem closer, brighter, dearer. Maybe it is not the sun, maybe it is the viewer.

So. Take stock of your life from time to time, but don’t look back too long.

See what there still is to do…so much!

And just begin again. And again. Until you realize all the same old words have shaped themselves into the story you want them to be.

Start again…


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Friday’s Five

This past week I sat with my friend D who reminded me yet again that it is time to write the book. The book she told me I needed to write when she found out I was getting ready to walk a terrible and tragic path. The book she brings up from time to time, but never more forcefully than this past week. You have the time now, friend. 

And, as most true friends have the tendency to be, she is right. So, in the spirit of internet accountability, I share my intention here. I also ask a favor of whatever  group of humans might read this post: pray for me, please. Pray that I will discipline myself to write daily, that I will write clearly and true, and that one day my words will find the right people and help them.

I know that God has a way of making the most amazing things happen, and I know He has set me up with time to write this year. He continues to put people in my path who show me this book is needed. He is persistent. 🙂

He has shown me that I have a tendency   to sabatoge my plans by letting myself get too busy. He gave me the gift of realizing that, and He keeps showing me in ways that only He can that now is the time. So, I humbly began writing out the first pages of thoughts and outlines and notes. 

I have a long way to go. A lot of word counts to meet. A lot of pages to turn. And rewrites. And edits. I am pretty sure this is not going to come easily. I am almost positive some of the remembering and reconstructing is going to be hard. 

But I am beginning in faith. I know if God intends for this book to be written, it will be written. I have committed to meet Him halfway in this and show up with the pencil. He has been patient on His end, but I know He has a sense of humor. Lately He’s been whispering the reminder that Look, we don’t have forever for this. Get on with it. 

He is the centerpiece of my story, my life, my “one day to be” book. 

I ask Him every day to let others see Him in me. He gave me a love for writing and words a long time ago. It seems He is going to let me use something I love to tell about what He can do for all of us. 

So, I still hope to post my weekly reasons for gratitude (probably the short form–unlike tonight’s bolded words), and I’ll of course let this page take whatever twist and turn seems fitting. One day, God willing, I’ll show up here to tell you the manuscript is ready. Then we’ll pray for a publisher. 

On second thought, go ahead and get busy on that prayer, too: agent/editor/publisher and anybody else I’m going to need. As God reminds me, it’s time to get this show on the road. 

Peace. Love. Action. Amen. 


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Sunday’s Song: Blessings

God is so good.
God heard your prayer.
You are blessed.
What a blessing.

Nice words to read and to hear, especially when we are getting what we want.
What we think should be ours.

People say these words almost without thinking. Without thinking about those of us who did not get what we wanted. Without thinking that maybe God has other things in mind for some of us.

Let’s not get this twisted.

God loves us all.
He blesses us all.
He hears us all.

In every circumstance. Over and over.
Not just when we get the answer we think we deserve. Not because we are so special or beloved. Just because.

There are many truths about this life. One is this: we will leave it one day.

In the meantime, know that God holds you close. You. When you’re suffering. You. When you’re tired. You. When you don’t understand. You.

And no matter the circumstance…whether it is a time of great sadness or great joy, for I think we all get our turn with both here…you are blessed. You. In every moment. God is with you and within you.

I’ve shared this story before, but it is one that I think of almost every day, especially when I hear people talk about Christmas and say that they just want it to be over this year. That they just can’t do it. That they miss someone or are not satisfied with how they think their life should be.

When Sam was living his final weeks here, his brother-in-law visited him and told him, “I’m still believing and praying for your miracle.”
Sam thanked him and said, “Remember, He IS the miracle.”

Yes. He is. And that is why in the midst of great grief and great tragedy, we can continue our journey.
He endured great pain here too. He knows our needs before we do. There is a blessing in that, a remarkable one.

Let Him carry you and comfort you through every storm. And say these words no matter the circumstance, no matter the trial:

I am blessed.

Then watch while He makes it true.

Peace.


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First Fourth like This

The popping of firecrackers alternates with the hum and buzz of cicadas and crickets. The random frog is croaking too. A party. There’s a concert out there tonight, folks.
Just like a song that takes you back, I’m there.

My neighbors down the road are putting on a show tonight. I think of decades of former Independence Day celebrations, some delightful, others– more subdued.

Different. That’s what this one is. Just me.

My toes aren’t in the sand this year. I didn’t even look for the red/white/blue t shirt. The one I usually wear.
Sam isn’t out by the pond setting off boxes of fireworks while the kids and my mom and I clap and whistle and repeat “oooooh ahhhhhhh” as he smiles at us, shakes his head, and lights some more.
There’s no deer meat grilling, no extra pieces “accidentally” dropping for the the newest trio of dogs .
Nobody fished at the pond today. The earthworms are ready, probably wondering why we aren’t upturning leaves and rocks and old metal tubs to gather them up.
One year I spilled a container of purple hull peas in the truck on the way to the in laws’ Fourth of July celebration. Not sure why I remember that.

Different years took the kids and me down the gravel drive to see the July sky come alive with glittering sparkles of fire. Not tonight. Not this year.

But I’m grateful for the years. For those days. For those times.
Days pre-Sam when I’d go with my mom to family reunions and eat too much fried catfish. Days my first family ( the one you get born in 🙂 ) would be on vacation together, watching a freedom fireworks show from the bank of a river or lake or hotel balcony.
Good times.
And today, freedom to remember. I have seen a lot. I’ve seen my mom sit in a wheelchair on a nursing home patio while my husband positioned her perfectly so she could catch a glimpse of something he knew she couldn’t see that well any longer.
I’ve seen my kids twirling sparklers, spelling their beautiful names in the summer night. I can still see that smoke trailing away, the glowing letters like golden whispers, hanging in the air.
I’ve also seen people confined by their minds and limited by their fears. Not free , right in the middle of the USA.
And I’ve seen my Sam fighting like hell this time last year, knowing he might not be here today. But he fought anyway. And on his terms.

Tonight, I’m still celebrating freedom, like a worn out warrior maybe, but I’m still walking.
I put my youngest on a plane this morning and shared a sweet visit with my son and future daughter in-law tonight. They are free to live, and are.

I consoled dogs that think this is too much noise, and I listen as the pops and echoes grow louder. There’s no fading into the distance yet. Good.

I walked outside earlier, for old times sake. Saw those long ago kid days of spitted watermelon seeds. Saw our long ago new house in progress, the two of us laughing in lawn chairs in the front yard.
Saw those red bobbers floating on rippling water, our feet dangling off the bridge. Happy and free.

I’m independent today in a way that I never thought I’d be, not this soon. And I’m going to tell you, it’s not always so great. But I’m also here to tell you, there were good memories today. Old and new ones.
I live in a country where I can do pretty much what I want when I want. I stopped by church this morning, worshiped my God the way I like to. Saw the cemetery nearby where my father is buried. Someone took time to leave flags on every veteran’s grave. Dozens of American flags fluttering. This has probably been going on for years, but I only knew it today. Like so many of life’s ways. We miss things. We really do.
A few miles away, there’s a patriotic bouquet on my Sam’s grave. A shiny plastic windmill is twirling in the breeze near his name. I bet there’s a show in that sky too. Those people down that road are shooting off fireworks and passing around beers, eating some decent BBQ. Oblivious to me writing this. Not realizing their little lights are giving me happiness. Because I am free to honor his memory in my own way. And I’m hoping somehow we both are seeing some night lights tonight and smiling. We both are hearing those repeating pops and snaps and thinking … so many good things. The mind is always free, friends. Free to dream. Happy Independence Day.
Live free to feel and think…and celebrate all the moments. As many as you can.